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The world’s first ’connected’ race suit is being worn for the first time by drivers at the FIA World Endurance Championships this weekend at Silverstone. The adidas Climacool Smart Suit contains a tamper-proofed chip that authenticates the race suit as a legitimate product and confirms whether it complies with current Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and/or SFI Foundation, Inc. (SFI) regulations.

The innovation has been developed by motorsport driver equipment specialists Fyshe Limited and Otentico Ltd in response to the challenges of authenticating brands and products and the growing counterfeit market.

The adidas race suits each contain a smart tag with an embedded near field communication (NFC) chip with a unique identification number, which is digitally signed during the tag’s production so that the tag cannot be cloned, tampered with or electronically modified. 

Otentico’s Smart Tags are based on NXP Semiconductors’ NFC chips and produced by one of the world’s leading NFC tag producers using the most secure production methods.  Each tag is registered in and verified by Otentico’s server-based authentication platform to offer the highest security architecture. The Smart Tags are superior to conventional static QR codes that are easy to copy and hologram-based labels that require visual identification.

The Smart Suits can be “read” and authenticated by swiping a NFC-enabled smartphone using a free downloadable app. The app shows the Smart Suit’s product details, including imagery, manufacturer, manufacturing date and homologation number and, in the near future, drivers’ details which could include key medical data. The information relating to each Smart Suit and driver is managed in the Cloud.

The Smart Suits will be worn by drivers of the Dempsey-Proton Racing, Abu Dhabi–Proton Racing and KCMG teams from the opening round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone.

Fyshe founder and managing director Chris Nurse said: “Innovation is at the heart of our business and I am proud to introduce a world first digital solution which addresses race-wear authentication and validation. 

“With threats of driver disqualifications at major races due to non-authentic or non-compliant suits being presented at scrutineering, the Smart Suit can help eradicate this risk and ensure driver safety. Our continued collaboration with Otentico will allow us to start to explore the exciting opportunities of the Smart Tag technology in new areas.”

Reigning FIA GT Pro world champion Richard Lietz said: “Not only is this a cool way of knowing your race suit is authentic, but I can see the technology opening up many other possibilities. Driver data not related directly to the clothing, such as medical details, would be an interesting development.”

Oren Beeri, CEO of Otentico, said: “As an innovative anti-counterfeiting authentication and provenance tracking technology company, we are excited to be working with Fyshe, one of the industry’s most innovative specialists and our first client in the motorsport industry.  We are proud to be able to develop and offer our technology to ensure that each product used by drivers around the world is indeed authentic and in compliance with the strict safety standards set by FIA and SFI.“