Steer-by-wire racing cars

Why we test Space Drive on the race track

Our commitment to motor sports for the benefit of disabled drivers

Why is our drive-by-wire technology, which we have been using for over 15 years to enable people with physical disabilities to drive, being used on the race track? For the continuous further development of Space Drive it is important to gain experience at the limit. This is why our joint venture Schaeffler Paravan Technologie GmbH & Co.KG has equipped various racing vehicles with the innovative digital drive-by-wire system in order to optimize the system step by step together with experienced racing drivers. It is a challenge to go to the limit with digital steering without a mechanical steering column in a racing car on the track. A challenge that the Schaeffler-Paravan team, including all technicians, engineers and programmers, is taking on in order to establish Space Drive as the technology of the future in the steering sector.

This knowledge and experience gained from racing is in turn incorporated into the evolution and continuous improvement of drive-by-wire technology and therefore benefits our customers. As part of the GTC Race Series and various other races such as the GT Masters or the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring, the modified Schaeffler Paravan cars will compete on the race track to gain new experience for use on the road.

The aim is to test the system in racing operation under extreme conditions in order to determine important parameters for the future development of Space Drive.

Axel Randolph, Head of Racing, Schaeffler Paravan
The test vehicles

Audi R8 LMS GT3

Steer-by-wire Audi R8 LMS GT3 from Space Drive Racing, operated by Phoenix Racing. First DMSB-approved racing car worldwide without mechanical connection between steering unit and steering gear.


Mercedes AMG GT3

Space Drive Racing Mercedes AMG GT3 operated by HWA. Winner of the 2020 GoodYear 60 race with driver Maximilian Götz.


Porsche 911 GT3R

In cooperation with the racing team KÜS Team 75 of Timo Bernhard the Porsche 911 in the GT3R version will be driven in the GTC Race this season.


McLaren 570S GT4

McLaren 570S GT4 with steer-by-wire steering from Dörr Motorsport racing team. Top placed at the 2020 GT Masters GT4 race at the Hockenheimring.


Porsche Cayman 718 GT4

The Porsche Cayman 718 GT4, equipped with the Space Drive System from Schaeffler Paravan, in action at the 24 hour race on the Nürburgring in cooperation with W&S Motorsport.


Ford Fiesta R5

The modified Ford Fiesta R5, driven by rally legend Armin Schwarz, takes part in the Lausitzrallye.

Advantages for the mobility of the disabled
Clear arguments for development work in motor sports
  • Numerous test kilometers at the limit on the race track for even more safety on the road for our customers with movement restrictions
  • Perform long-term and long-distance testing under extreme conditions
  • Demonstrate technical performance, robustness and full functionality under extreme conditions
  • Test and further development for a perfect steering feel
  • Feedback from experienced test drivers flows directly into the development work and evolution of the system
Racing project with Janis McDavid

A man without arms and legs fulfils his childhood dream

Our client, brand ambassador and motivator Janis McDavid is working with us on a very special project. The aim is to drive full throttle on a race track in a converted steer-by-wire racing car with joystick steering. Not only does this fulfil Janis' childhood dream, but it also encourages other people with physical disabilities. If a man without arms and legs can drive at top speed on a race track in a racing car and still have full control of the vehicle, then people with other physical disabilities can also take courage to put themselves behind the wheel. On the other hand, the application also demonstrates the robustness and at the same time the performance of the existing steer-by-wire technology, which has been used for years to enable people with severe physical disabilities to drive a car. 

With 200 km/h and joystick steering over the race track

The dream of driving a car has always played a major role in Janis McDavid's life. For him, it means freedom to decide for himself where he wants to go and when. But there is much more behind this freedom: "that I am just as equal on the road as everyone else. My disability doesn't matter, it's a great feeling. A good ten years ago, he was able to make this dream come true with a Mercedes Sprinter that was individually adapted for him, and since then he has been on the road 320,000 kilometres without an accident, using only a 4-way joystick and the Space Drive driving and steering system. "As a child, my dream of driving always had something to do with cool sports cars," he says. And it has now come true. Now Janis McDavid could take a seat in a BMW M3, professionally dressed - as prescribed - in a fireproof racing suit and helmet. He mastered a first test at the Hockenheimring with flying colours. Now he is eagerly awaiting his first race, which had to be postponed to spring due to the corona. Then he will hopefully - before the safety car - be able to drive the formation lap in his BMW in a really big race.

Rennprojekt mit Janis McDavid Hockenheimring
Space Drive BMW mit Janis McDavid
Rennwagen von Janis McDavid

Freedom for me is that I am as equal on the street as everyone else. My disability doesn't matter, it's a great feeling.

Janis McDavid