Case study

USB CAN interface helps the Forze racing team to "Pole Position"

Ixxat CAN communications hardware and software provided the Forze team with communications between the race car’s systems and the teams engineers, as well as analysis tools for understanding the cars performance data.

Forze Racing Car connected to a PC with an Ixxat USB CAN interface

The world of transportation is changing. Not since the launch of the first mass produced and affordable internal combustion engine powered cars has the world seen such a huge shift in technology.

One thing that seems certain is that electricity will be at the heart of this move to clean transportation and the team at Forze racing believe that hydrogen technology will provide the electrical energy that powers this change. Forze is a multi-discipline team of students from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The Forze project is open to students from a wide range of areas from Marketing through to Engineering and of course, drivers!

The Hydrogen Powered Race Car

The team started its journey in the “Formula Zero” racing series, building, and racing hydrogen powered karts for 3 years before moving on to the “Formula Student” competition. 2 years later work started on building the Forze VI, their first full sized hydrogen powered race car. In 2015 this amazing car lapped the Nürburgring Nordschleife in less than 11 minutes, setting a record for hydrogen powered vehicles.

There followed the Forze VII & Forze VIII. Forze VIII is not only the first hydrogen car to finish the supercar challenge, but even the first hydrogen powered race car in the world to compete in an official race against conventional petrol powered cars. During that race, the team achieved second place.

The next challenge, the Forze IX is now being developed and is aimed directly at beating prestigeous cars such as the Porche 911 GT3 and Lamborghini Huracan.


Forze team with the latest racing car using a USB CAN interface to connect with a PC


The Data Challenge

A critical part of the development of Forze’s cars is data acquisition. Without an effective method of capturing and analysing the Forze car’s performance data, it would be almost impossible to develop such a technically advanced and innovative vehicle.

This is where the Ixxat product family from HMS Networks comes into the Forze story.

Key requirements were:

  • Communication with the car’s on-board systems via a data port
  • USB CAN interface
  • Access to each nodes data
  • Option for CAN FD in the next gen car
  • The ability to perform tests without software changes


As the speed and complexity of our next generation hydrogen electric race car increases, our need for more advanced communication protocols increases as well. This is why the CANFD technology of Ixxat/HMS Networks is the perfect fit for us!

Winter Oostwoud, Forze Hydrogen Racing


How did Ixxat solutions solve the Forze data challenges?

  • Connected via the car’s data port, an Ixxat USB CAN interface "USB-to-CAN FD" is used to provide a compatible physical connection for a laptop.
  • Ixxat CANopen Device Manager software is used to access the Object Dictionaries of each of the car’s CAN nodes.
  • CANopen Device Manager allows data values to be changed and tested without software modifications, saving time and expense.
  • The support of CAN FD in the Ixxat USB CAN interface in combination with the Ixxat canAnalyser 3 software tool was essential as the new car is to have its communications based on CAN FD.
  • The USB CAN interface and canAnalyser 3 software will be vital tools to enable the development team to understand how the car performs at each stage of development and testing.

The Result

Using Ixxat technology, the Forze team have been able to have quick, easy, and reliable access to the vital data that they need. HMS is proud to be a part of this project and to have helped Forze develop such a ground-breaking and successful hydrogen powered racing car.

Company: Forze Hydrogen Racing

Country: The Netherlands

Year: 2021

Solution: Ixxat PC interfaces and tools

Industries: Automotive

Products: canAnalyser with CANopen Module and USB-to-CAN FD interface
Ixxat USB CAN interface

You might also be interested in

White papers

Stay up to date on the latest topics and gain industry insights from HMS' experts through our white papers, providing valuable knowledge and analysis.

All case studies

Our products solve everyday industrial communication problems. Discover how our customers have improved their business with HMS case studies.

All solutions and applications

HMS communication solutions help thousands of companies solve specific communication problems in many different industries and applications.

Technologies we work with

5G, IIoT, Industrial Ethernet, Safety, AI, e-mobility, battery communication – HMS leads the way.