Nissan claims its innovative driver training program Brain to Performance really works.
It says the program shows brain training protocols can successfully improve the cognitive functions of its Formula E drivers.
Data indicates that racing drivers who participated in the training experienced enhancements in complex decision-making, stress and fatigue resilience, along with quicker reaction times.
These improvements can help reduce on-track errors and maximise pace and consistency.
On the basis of the findings, Nissan Formula E Team plans to integrate the brain training protocols into its drivers’ overall training programs from Season 10.
With further adaptation, Nissan says the knowledge gained from both the research and application stages is expected to be applicable to the wider NISMO family beyond the FIA Formula E World Championship, including drivers in the Japanese Super GT series.
Furthermore, the Brain to Performance program has highly accelerated the research towards developing a driving skill improvement system, accessible to all the drivers.
Nissan’s Dr Lucian Gheorghe said: “Since the beginning of the Brain to Performance program, we knew there was great potential for this neuro-stimulating technology to help improve on-track performances of the Nissan Formula E Team drivers.
“Our research conducted through Seasons 7 and 8 showed that people’s abilities to learn and retain knowledge was significantly enhanced.
“The training protocols developed together with Plato Science and Wave Neuro further confirmed this, with improvements in the drivers’ cognitive functions.
“Following these encouraging results, we believe this technology could provide a substantial benefit far beyond the world of motorsports.”
The research compared racing drivers’ brain functions to those of everyday drivers, evaluating the link between electrical brain stimulation and on-track performance, assessing the potential for this technology to enhance general driving skills outside of racing.
As part of the research, two control groups were formed – one that underwent brain stimulation and a control group that did not.
Non-professional drivers in these groups participated in testing sessions on race simulators at the University of Essex and the Geneva-based Campus Biotech.
They completed 10 sessions on a track they had not seen before and the final findings revealed that the brain-stimulated group performed 50 percent faster and learned circuits 50 percent more quickly.
Dr Gheorghe collaborated with US-based technology partner Wave Neuro to develop a comprehensive bespoke driver training program for the Nissan Formula E Team drivers.
The training involved the Nissan Formula E Team drivers undergoing baseline neuro scans using an EEG device.
With the data collected and support from the University of Texas and scientists at Wave Neuro, Dr Gheorghe was able to create tailored training programs using a brain-stimulating Sonal device.
This device uses certain frequencies to target specific areas of the brain, aimed at helping with jet lag and sleep deprivation, improving reaction times, and minimising human error, especially in high-pressure environments.
Wave Neuro has previous experience employing these training protocols alongside the United States military to aid individuals suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
They have also worked with professional American football players who have experienced brain injuries.
Customised protocols were created for Nissan Formula E Team drivers.
After using the Sonal device throughout Season 9, a final scan was conducted to assess its impact on their cognitive functions.
Improvements in both brain speed and clarity supported the research hypothesis, and it was concluded that further training with this device over an extended period could assist drivers in optimising their performances.