No machine is 100% efficient. But if there’s a machine that can do almost anything, it’s the human body, and at the center of it all is the brain. Nissan wants to tap the potential of brain function and anatomy to train and develop its Formula E drivers. With the program they aptly named "Brain To Performance", they want to push the efficiency and skills of the human mind, and it looks like they actually can.
Pioneering this program is Lucian Gheorghe, a leader in the field of brain analysis and training. Coincidentally, he is also a strong proponent behind the manufacturer’s research on how to build the connection between people and Nissan vehicles.
But what exactly is Brain To Performance, and how does it work? Nissan’s current duo of Formula E drivers, Sebastien Buemi and Oliver Rowland, will be involved in the detailed analysis and testing of their brain functions while driving on state-of-the-art simulators. Once their individual data have been gathered, they will be compared against a control group of regular folk, also known as non-race car drivers.
Once all this information has been analyzed, specific training programs can be rolled out for every unique individual (at least, that is the goal). By way of electrical brain stimulation, Nissan is aiming to be able to improve daily and high-demand driver performance.
"Our brains are incredibly powerful. Without us realizing it, they perform a multitude of critical functions every second we drive our cars. Our highly trained and experienced Nissan Formula E drivers perform these functions under intense pressure and at great speed as they constantly search for faster lap times,” said Gheorghe. “Our new Nissan Brain to Performance program seeks to understand what it is about their brains' electrical activity that enables them to do what they do. Then, if we can, we'd like to help them further improve their performance through bespoke brain training. In the future, could our cutting-edge research help improve the driving skills of the average driver, and inform the development of our road-going EVs? We hope so."
"At Nissan, we dare to do what others don't. With this groundbreaking program, we aim to understand our race drivers' brain functions like never before and push the boundaries of on-track performance in Formula E," said Tommaso Volpe, Nissan global motorsports director. "What if, through advanced brain function analysis and training, we could help make our drivers perform better? Every tenth of a second counts in Formula E, so we're excited to see how our cutting-edge Nissan research team can enhance Seb and Oli's already high-performing brain functionality."
As everyday drivers and occasional weekend warriors, we know that racing is the best showcase of talent and skill. Beneath all of that is an understanding of driving, and how to do it properly. With Nissan’s Brain To Performance, we’re looking at cutting-edge technology that can make us better at the most fundamental level. And the program can do that by using nothing else but our own brains.
Sounds too good to be true? Maybe. But then again, if this ultimately makes us all better on the road or track, tell us where to sign up.