Simulation of race circuit performance had a significant impact on the design and development of the Dodge Stratus North American Touring Car Championship (NATCC) entry. The analysis involved utilization of the Milliken Research Associates, Inc. (MRA) Lap Time Simulation (LTS) program which predicts lap time based on data describing the vehicle, tires, and race track.
Input data for the simulation was obtained from several sources. Chrysler Vehicle Engineering provided vehicle design information and engine power data. Tire characteristics were measured at Calspan Corporation. Aerodynamic coefficients were derived from scale model wind tunnel tests performed by Reynard Racing Cars Ltd. at the Houghton Wind Tunnel, Royal Military College of Science Shrivenham, Wiltshire, UK. X-Trac Ltd. provided transaxle specifications and race line data was derived from on-board measurements and circuit maps.
Parametric studies of the vehicle variables were performed for various tracks. The results were used, in conjunction with more traditional race car design techniques, to specify the initial vehicle design and the range of setup adjustments required to tune the car for different tracks.
The results were correlated with actual data from the on-board data acquisition during the development process as well as the racing season. This paper includes a discussion of this correlation and the use of the correlated LTS simulation for development of the front wheel drive Dodge Stratus 2-Liter Touring Car.