In 2008, Nissan made much fanfare about the stock Nissan GTR beating the Porsche 911 on the full Nürburgring circuit in Germany. The full Nürburgring is one of the most intimidating racing circuits in the world. At over 24 kilometres in length and 160 turns, it is a very demanding race circuit that requires both car and driver be on top of their game. Consequently, this is a circuit that carries respect when you get it right.
Most organizations are convinced that millions of dollars are necessary to conquer the Nürburgring. However, there is a secret cost-effective weapon available, and it is called ChassisSim. ChassisSim is a high-end multibody vehicle dynamics simulation software that has been used extensively in motorsport applications. This includes LMP1, LMP2, IndyCar, F3, GP2, V8 Supercars and German DTM. It has also been used to tune road cars.
ChassisSim allows the user to enter detailed vehicle information very quickly, and then run the perfect lap to see what it can do. An example of the output is shown below:
Actual results are colored and the simulated results are black. As can be seen, the speed, damper traces and steered angle and throttle are virtually indistinguishable from data. Once this information is generated, it provides an excellent platform on which to run any “what if” scenarios.
To simulate a setup change, all the user needs to do is click on the car component to be simulated and change it as if they were adjusting a component on the car. This is illustrated below:
The next step is to load the circuit and log the data to an analysis package of choice, then run it as if the car were running on the circuit. Then it is easy to perform sensitivity analysis to make the car faster. An example of this is shown in Figure 3.
ChassisSim is a must-have tool for conquering the Nürburgring. The correlation of ChassisSim is virtually indistinguishable from the actual data, providing an excellent platform to play all the “what ifs” before getting to the circuit.