The automotive racing world is getting very exciting again and CFD simulation is an important part of the advances. But the advances aren’t just limited to aerodynamics.
In a story about Toyota’s Le Mans entry this year, they revealed that engineers have found a way to recover energy generated by braking in the turns which can then be released at a point just past the apex of the turn to improve acceleration when it matters. This is new in endurance races like Le Mans, a 24-hour race.
It’s this kind of engineering inventiveness that we enjoy following. And it’s these engineers’ willingness to experiment with anything that will shave a second off their lap time that leads them to CFD.
Is CFD the future of advanced automotive design?
Last year, Virgin Racing launched their second season in Formula One with a new name – Marussia Virgin Racing – and a new car, designed entirely using CFD. The design was not tested in a wind tunnel.
While there were lots of skeptics about a CFD approach to elite automotive engineering, Wirth Research, the company behind the Virgin Racing car has found another client who’s very much behind new ways to get an edge – Honda Performance Development’s “IndyCar bodywork programme.” And it’s no wonder; Wirth’s group had collaborated with Honda on the Acura/HPD LMP1 and LMP2 projects. Those cars were champions in the American Le Mans Series.
As the Wirth Research website makes clear, the company uses CFD to provide innovative answers to complex automobile engineering problems. They go, far beyond traditional testing, and arrive at answers more quickly and affordably.
As long as automotive engineers seek to reduce horizontal drag in car design, CFD analysis will be used more and more frequently.
What automotive engineers can expect from CFD analysis
In the short term, more automotive engineers will be using CFD to solve complex fluid dynamics issues. This is due to several things happening at once:
- Continual advances in what CFD can do
- Lowering costs of computing hardware
- Moore’s Law incessantly doubling computing power every 18 months
- A huge wave of data generated by CFD simulations
It’s that last one we’d like to end this blog post with.
Automotive Engineers are clearly taking the lead by using CFD technologies to optimize their designs. Tecplot, Inc. has taken the lead with our latest CFD post-processing tool, Tecplot Chorus.
Tecplot Chorus helps engineers quickly organize and manage their data, as well as giving them a deeper understanding of the fluid dynamic phenomena underlying trends and anomalies. Shaving a second off a lap is one thing. Shaving a month off your development time is quite another