Digital Systems Blog

BMW M Motorsport Uses Human-Centric Lighting at the Famed 24-Hour Le Mans Race

Human-centric lightingDriving in a 24-hour car race surely tests a driver’s fortitude.  These day and night racing events are grueling.  Weather is unpredictable and the pace of the cars can exceed over 200 mph.  When darkness comes, the drivers don’t slow down—they continue to rocket through the track. 

Like all competitors, race drivers seek every advantage they can find. The BMW M Motorsport team has employed an innovative tool, human-centric lighting, to maintain endurance levels during key racing events. Human-centric lighting is a form of biomimicry – an approach to solving problems by emulating nature’s patterns and strategies. Human-centric lighting applies light characteristics such as color, intensity and timing to artificial lighting to mimic natural light.

Official BMW M Motorsport Partner

Osram is an official BMW M Motorsport partner and has been providing human-centric lighting technology to racing drivers and their teams since last year’s season when it premiered its biologically-effective light in cooperation with BMW Motorsport the Nürburgring 24 Hours. At the recent legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans race, the BMW M Motorsport team once again had the support of Osram.

This cutting-edge lighting technology played a crucial role for BMW M Motorsport drivers this year on the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe raceway. Considered the most important race in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Le Mans is held in June when days are the longest, but there is still eight hours of treacherous night driving.  Each team at Le Mans has three drivers per car.  The driving is evenly spread out with eight hours per driver demanding extreme focus and attention. Additionally, the track is crowded as all classes in the event race simultaneously which increases the danger.  Avoiding catastrophe is paramount.

HCL Helps Drivers Stay Alert During Brutal 24 Hour Race

The 24 Hours of Le Mans pushes man and machine to the most extreme limits of stamina. Even the tiniest detail can be of vital importance – like using the right light. One gadget to prepare for exhausting race laps are HCL glasses developed by Osram. They are designed to mobilize the energy exactly when needed and help sharpen the focus, e.g. during the arduous 24-hour race. The blue LED light prepares for the battle ahead by stimulating the central nervous system. In the common rooms and the pit wall control center special luminaires were installed for the benefit of the drivers and the engineers. The luminaires emit light with a high blue component, helping to heighten and maintain concentration levels even during the night session.

This human-centric lighting eyewear prototype has been used by other world-class athletes including the German ski team as they competed in the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang. The ski team came in an impressive second, collecting 31 medals – 14 gold, 10 silver, and 7 bronze. 

Travelers similarly see benefits from the glasses in combatting jet lag, as the eyewear replicates various levels of daylight in an effort to provide our bodies with light of varying color temperatures and intensities.

Human-centric lighting is also used in schools, where it can help boost student concentration. Installed in retirement or nursing homes, it can help stabilize people living with dementia who have lost track of their day/night cycle. The technology is used in offices as well, where HCL can positively affect work environment satisfaction, and help optimize the performance and concentration levels of office workers.

Learn how four different organizations are customizing light to help their employees perform at their best by improving comfort, productivity and safety in the workspace by downloading the case studies below.


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Topics: Human Centric Lighting, Project Spotlight