Professional Driving Simulator to Design First-Time-Right Race Cars 2014-01-0099
Professional driving simulators can be successfully exploited to shorten the traditional design-prototype testing-production process relative to a new race car.
Consider as a real example the Dallara 2014 Super Formula (“SF”) race car; built in 2013 at the Dallara factory in Varano de' Melegari, Parma, Italy and scheduled to race in Japan in 2014. Professional race drivers from the SF series have already been conducting multiple test sessions with the Dallara Simulator (Dec 2012), working together with vehicle dynamicists, aerodynamicists, designers, structural engineers and engine manufacturers, in an effort to evaluate and validate kinematics, steering geometry, aerodynamics, packaging, cooling, engine performance, as well as monocoque stiffness and minor installation details, even before the design had started.
Multiple on track test sessions (Jul-Sep 2013), conducted with the real prototypes, have impressed both drivers and their respective engineers and engine representatives. The real car was found to be close in performance and feeling with respect to the virtual car developed on the simulator.
This experience is a remarkable example worth sharing to the SAE community. It illustrates an innovative way for Motor Racing engineers to shorten the design-to-track development time.