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FROM LAP TIME SIMULATION TO DRIVER-IN-THE-LOOP - Automotive Aftermarket Blog | RimTyme

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FROM LAP TIME SIMULATION TO DRIVER-IN-THE-LOOP

FROM LAP TIME SIMULATION TO DRIVER-IN-THE-LOOP

FROM LAP TIME SIMULATION TO DRIVER-IN-THE-LOOP: A SIMPLE INTRODUCTION TO SIMULATION IN RACING

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racing simulation
Photo: Youtube Video (Infiniti Europe’s channel)

 
If you are a keen motorsport fan, or a Vehicle Dynamics enthusiast, you probably have heard of the use of simulation in racing. On the recent days, the word “simulation” has been more and more on the motorsport media, in all sorts of levels. But do you know how it is used?
 
With the regulations in all categories and levels of motorsport increasingly pushing teams and companies to reduce costs, track time became strictly limited, and the racing world saw the main tool for vehicle development (testing) having its use severely restricted.
 
The scenario above created a demand for the improvement of alternative tools that would help to develop the cars. This, together with the increase in computational power at diminishing cost through the years, has contributed to the popularisation of simulation tools in racing.
 
Simulation is used at many levels of the sport, and its role has increased to the point where teams can figure out a huge part of the setup of the car solely based on this tool. In fact, the team management from Audi declared that 99% of the setup of their cars was determined by lap time simulation in the 2009 DTM season.
 
Some of the advantages of using simulation are:
 

    • It allows development of systems (e.g. suspension and steering), with a significantly reduced number of required prototypes, thus reducing cost;

 

    • It produces data for multiple configurations without having to physically test the car;

 

 

    • It produces data channels that cannot, or are difficult to measure on the actual car (e.g. tyre loads, dynamic roll centre locations, camber angles, slip angles, etc.). This channels can also be used to increase the accuracy of math channels for the real car;

 

 

    • It produces a theoretical performance limit for the car, and allows to investigate how close the driver is taking the car to that limit;

 

 

    • It can be used to investigate the effects of individual changes on vehicle data, preparing the engineers to know what to expect from the data when that change is implemented on the real car.

 

 
One thing that engineers must keep in mind is that simulation is only a tool, and should be used as such. Therefore, the users of this tool must have an understanding of how it works, what it can and what it can’t do.
 
Also they must have an understanding of vehicle dynamics at the most fundamental levels, in order to make it work properly. An analogy that might help you to understand it better is that of a word processor and a writer. The word processor makes the life of the writer significantly easier. However, it won’t write the book for the writer. A very important engineering principle holds true for the use of simulation (and many other engineering tools):
 

Garbage in = Garbage out

 
This means that your simulation results will be as accurate as the parameters input to the software. Also the results from the runs must not be blindly trusted. After the results are obtained from the simulator, they must be validated by comparison with track data.
 

Wanna know more about the use of simulation in racing?

Then keep reading this article to learn more about:

 

    • What are the different uses of simulation in the motorsport environment;

 

 

    • What is required to put a race car model together;

 

 

    • How tyres are integrated to the simulation, and what is the Magic Formula Tyre Model;

 

 

    • What is required to proper model the race track for lap time simulation purposes;

 

 

  • What you should pay attention to when using simulation.
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