Roland and Luca Arnold jointly pilot the PARAVAN Mercedes-GT3 #65 in the GTC Race. Joint development drives in the Space Drive bolide are planned for a new generation of intelligent input devices in the field of mobility for the disabled and with a view to automated driving.
The development of innovative solutions for disabled mobility is a family affair at the Arnolds. This year, there is even a family space drive cockpit in the number 65 Mercedes-AMG GT3, which manages entirely without a mechanical connection between the steering unit and steering gear. When the GTC Race 2023 season kicks off at Hockenheim this weekend, Roland and Luca Arnold will be behind the wheel together. However, the competitions at the ADAC Racing Weekend 2023 are not just about burning the fastest lap time into the asphalt, they are also about driving for the future of mobility for the disabled. The Space Drive pioneers from the Swabian Alb in South Germany have set their sights on developing a new generation of input devices for accelerating and steering.
In addition, son Luca faces another challenge: switching from the Porsche Cayman 718 GT4 to the Mercedes-AMG GT3, which Space Drive pioneer Roland Arnold already drove last season. This is the third GTC race season for the 20-year-old former GTC sighting driver. In addition to the vehicle, which is new to him, he has already familiarized himself with the electric steering in initial tests and is well prepared for the season.
The PARAVAN car is being supported by W&S Motorsport. The team from Ofterdingen shares more than just a passion for motorsport with PARAVAN. "We develop performance" is the motto of the team around Daniel Schellhaas and Patrick Wagner. Development in the extreme environment of the motorsport is an important driver in their operations. The collaboration with Roland Arnold's team is not new. Together, in 2020 and 2021, they were the first racing team in the world to field the first GT4 and, one year later, the first GT3 vehicle to successfully compete in a 24-hour race without a mechanical connection between the steering wheel and steering gear.
The discussion about the development of new vehicle concepts against the background of autonomous driving does not ignore mobility for the disabled - on the contrary, it is important that drivers with a handicap are not left behind in the future. In addition to a drive-by-wire system, the main focus here is on the input devices, which will have to communicate even better with the vehicle electronics in the future. This year, the Space Drive pioneers are focusing their development efforts on this behind the wheel, determining the data for the PARAVAN software developers and working on an even better steering feel as well as on the parameterizability of the steering for steering units and other individual driver input devices, such as a joystick.
Roland Arnold, Managing Director of PARAVAN GmbH and driver of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 #65: "Motorsport continues to be an important development field for us and at the same time a development accelerator. In order to remain fit for the future for our customers and to continue to offer them solutions that are well adaptable, innovative, well tested and ultimately also safe. That's what I and my son Luca are behind the wheel for. In W&S Motorsport we have found the perfect partner on the race track, with the same DNA as us. And the GTC Race is the perfect platform for this."
Luca Arnold, driver of the Mercedes-AMG GT3 #65: "It's a new feeling but also a whole new experience to be on track with the Mercedes-AMG GT3. The changeover - also to the steer-by-wire steering - was easier than we thought. The driving feel is a little different, but the advantages become clear very quickly, as the tests have already shown. I'm pleased to be able to contribute to the development of future solutions for our customers together with my father."
Daniel Schellhaas, Team Principal W&S Motorsport: "In addition to fast lap times, motorsport is also about advancing the development of new technologies. This is a very special incentive and challenge for us at the same time. It is very impressive what has been achieved in recent years with regard to electronic steering. We are proud to be part of the development team and to be able to make a contribution so that people with handicaps may have even more options and be able to participate even more safely in traffic in the future."
Dates GTC Race 2023:
April 28 to 30: Hockenheim, June 2 to 4: Lausitzring, June 30 to July 2: Nürburgring, July 28 to 30: Oschersleben, October 13 to 15: Nürburgring, www.gtc-race.de