Friedemann Kurz has been at Porsche AG for over 12 years, combining his passions for IT and motorsport. With a computer science and business informatics background, he started as an intern at Porsche in 2007 during the successful Porsche RS Spyder project, which achieved many overall victories in the American Le Mans Series and the European Le Mans Series. Friedemann returned to Porsche in 2012 as an IT project manager for the Porsche 919 Hybrid project, later becoming Head of IT Porsche Motorsport. 

Currently, Friedemann oversees the Motorsport IT department, supporting Porsches ongoing racing programmes, including the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team and other racing activities.

At DTX Manchester, taking place on 22nd and 23rd May at Manchester Central, Friedemann will appear on the main stage with Matt Watts, Chief Technology Evangelist at NetApp, Porsches intelligent data infrastructure partner. Their session is titled: “How to drive sustainability in IT.” The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

 

Q: What will you be speaking about at DTX Manchester?

I am speaking with our intelligent data infrastructure partner, NetApp, and will be joined by their chief technology evangelist, Matt Watts, to discuss how we can drive sustainability in IT. Specifically, we’ll discuss how the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team balances sustainability, simplicity, savings, and security in our data infrastructure and IT operation.

In our talk, we will give examples of how a modern data infrastructure can help a professional race team be even more successful whilst aiming to be more sustainable. It’s not a matter of choosing one or the other; we must try to combine both.

Matt will also provide many great ideas on further involving innovative solutions and using them to our advantage as a racing team.

Q: Why should people listen to your session at DTX Manchester?

Matt and I will explore how great IT can also be green IT. Some people may not know that Formula E was the first sport with a certified net zero carbon footprint. When Formula E vehicles are attributed a specific amount of power to last a whole race, intelligent approaches to technology and data are crucial to getting to the finish line.

We will share best practice tips that businesses of all sizes can implement to transform their data and perform more sustainably. Our session will provide valuable insights and actionable steps for organisations looking to drive sustainability in their IT operations.

Q: How important is sustainability in IT at a motorsport company?

In everything  Porsche Motorsport does, not just in transport or development but also in IT, we always have to remember to do things most efficiently. This means reducing IT equipment at the track, which leads to less freight and a significant reduction in cost and CO2 emissions.

When it comes to computing, and component usage, being efficient by using pooled resources in the cloud that use sustainable energy is also vital for us to apply in the motorsport environment, especially for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team, where we push the boundaries even further.

It’s important to note that the IT environment has changed tremendously over the last 10-15 years, with modern IT possibilities offering new opportunities for organisations, including motorsport. Consider that in the 1970s, most data came from a simple stopwatch! Data-driven approaches are now key success factors, and IT plays a crucial role in optimising cars during development, finding perfect strategies, and improving car setups for races.

Q: How important is your partnership with NetApp?

Our partnership with NetApp has been crucial in finding the best storage and data infrastructure solutions, both in our compute centres and as we migrate to the cloud.

Using NetApp’s cloud volume solutions, we can efficiently store and handle data regardless of location. This is a significant benefit in a racing organisation where efficiency is crucial.

By understanding our data, storing and processing it in a continuous loop between races, and doing so as effectively and efficiently as possible, we support Formula E’s mission to be a sustainable and fun racing event.

Moreover, our data-driven approach to improving the car through simulations and calculations in the virtual world consumes significantly less energy than conducting test programs with the actual car on a racetrack. This further contributes to our sustainability efforts.

Q: If you could offer three takeaways from your speaking session, what would they be?

After our speaking session, attendees will know how to:

1. Better understand their data: Motorsport perfectly showcases the importance of understanding your data, collecting it efficiently, and using it effectively rather than wasting it. This serves as a good role model for many other organisations.

2. Process data in the most effective and efficient way: Data storage, processing, and management in a continuous loop, with different objectives during and between races, needs to be done as effectively and efficiently as possible. This requires balancing data sources, appropriate storage tiers, and caching functionalities.

3. Develop new products and services more sustainably: Everything we do regarding cars, data infrastructure, and compute needs to be done more sustainably to support Formula E’s mission of being a more sustainable and fun racing event. Embracing innovative solutions and partnering with organisations prioritising sustainability can help drive this forward.

Q: What are your hopes for DTX Manchester this year? What are you hoping to learn?

In my session with Matt, I want to share the value of partnerships across sectors when achieving sustainability goals. Our talk will explore just how technology can be taken advantage of for the greener good.

Beyond sharing the best sustainability practices I’ve learned with other businesses, I hope to network and learn from like-minded individuals about their experiences building a sustainable future in their sectors. These connections and insights will be crucial in helping us all improve the climate impact of our IT and make better, greener choices.

I’m looking forward to exchanging ideas with other professionals, sharing insights, and gaining new perspectives and opinions from experts in various industries.

Friedemann is speaking at DTX Manchester in a session titled: “How to drive sustainability in IT.” DTX Manchester takes place at Manchester Central, M2 3GX, on 22nd & 23rd May. Register – for free – here: https://www.dtxevents.io/