Marco CalovoloIn the real world, do not exist two race cars with the same handling on the track. Although built exactly with the same specifications, by the same people, tested by the same driver, one after the other, both with new tyres to minimize the variables between them, well, it’s very probably that one will be slightly more reactive than the other, while the second will have a bit softer gear shift, and so on.If you add also the driver variable, here the differences begin to become bigger. If the context is the race weekend, it’s hard to find unique solutions for both cars.

So, after this preview you could understand how it is important nowadays the simulation in order to create and work on a virtual model, aseptic, not contaminated by unknown factors, as we said, belonging to this real world. Simplifying a lot, to build the model we can consider two distinct and complementary blocks. The first represents the physics of the vehicle, the sum of informations (such as suspensions geometry, center of gravity position , etc.) that must be provided to the simulation program to predict, and then perform with the driving simulator, which the reactions of the car will be. The second block covers the body of the car , its forms and, therefore, its aerodynamics valence. Modern techniques of design, well-established and approved provide the intensive and extensive use of 3D. The convenience of this system is evident because all the components can be treated either individually or as groups. The car body is completely defined and then exported into other softwares, such as aerodynamic CFD simulation.
Sometimes, though more rarely, it may happen to work on the cars that do not have the 3D model. To create the virtual model there are basically two options:

  • a precise scanning of the car external surface  (in general, by detecting a half and assuming the second as symmetrical to the first)
  • or, if no other informations are available, the easiest method is to start from the design of the car (vector file called “blue print” is the base) seen from four views  front, top , side and rear) used as reference images during the modeling process, in fact almost done manually

Many dimensions must be verified directly on the real car. Basically, you build your model by drawing 2D shapes in 3D space, and it goes without saying that everything requires great skill and infinite patience. The current design processes allow, however, to draw the 3D shape directly in 3D space. With a precise 3D model, which can consider also the internal mechanical components, allowing to obtain very realistic simulations about aerodynamics, fluids and downforce/aero maps.