Posted by: drracing | April 11, 2017

LMP2 2017 – Prologue results vs Simulations – LMP2 driver testing

Hi everybody!

Again a long time since i last wrote something, but it has been a busy winter and hopefully I will soon have a chance to write more about my latest projects. Some of them have been really exciting, including simulation sessions aimed at a new car development (front suspension) in cooperation with a very experienced engineer/designer.

This post will still be about 2017 LMP2 cars though, since they finally got the track for an official test (the ELMS and WEC prologues) and we have some first results to compare to the ones I published here back in December and to some new ones i collected, this time with a real driver (with LMP2 experience) seating at the wheel in my simulator.

During the last months I further refined my 2017 LMP2 model, basing on new data I received and some setup improvements, coming mainly from testing. Car’s behavior has improved a bit, also because of some aerodynamics effects I was previously not considering and i now included in the simulation and that seem to influence these cars’ behavior more sensibly than other kind of race cars (mainly in terms of stability).
As a side result to these updates, lap times has dropped a bit compared to the ones i mentioned back in December.

But let’s come to the facts: the week before the ELMS prologue, Fabian Schiller (a young driver with LMP2/Gt3 experience, who won in the Asian Le Mans Series at his debut in the LMP2 class and claimed a second place in his first Blancpain GT3 in Misano) came to visit me and spent a couple of hours at the sim, completing a few sessions with the LMP2 vehicle model in Monza.
This has been very useful, not only for the feedback he could give about my simulator (hardware and settings) and about the vehicle model, basing on his experience with “old” generation LMP2 cars, but also to understand how quick a real driver could be with (what should be) a representative vehicle model of a 2017 LMP2.

The first things to say (and this is something very pleasant for me) is that he felt immediately comfortable with the hardware and with the model and was able to drive naturally and fast from the very beginning.
After some laps, that he used to find the best braking points and the best line for each corner, he immediately produced very good lap times (already during the first session he landed in the 1’37” region), feeling immediately “home” with the vehicle model and its behavior.

His feedback about the car and the simulator itself was also very good. To mention his words, he said that the steering feedback the model produces is probably the best he ever felt in a simulator and that the model behaves in a very natural and predictable way, making it somehow easier to extract performance for drivers with real track experience.

To confirm all of this, he just did 3-4 sessions for a total of about 40 laps, with just some time between each session to take a look to the data logging and try to understand where he could still improve. Nonetheless, he was able to be immediately pretty quick and to probably go very close to limit of the “model + driver” system.

His best lap time was about 1’36″5, with a theoretical best lap time about two tenths quicker. As already mentioned in my previous article, the top speed at the end of the main straight was close to 308 km/h.

This compares extremely well with the best laps produced during the ELMS and WEC prologue by LMP2 cars.
During the two days ELMS test, the best lap was a 1’36″4 with more drivers running best lap times below 1’37” (results here). WEC guys produces some slightly better performance, with two drivers able to go close to a 1’36″0 , but with more drivers producing lap times in the region of 1’36″5 (results here).
Also the top speeds seem to match pretty well.
Unfortunately, we don’t have many other data to compare to, but this seems to be already a pretty good feedback, also because i am sure i can rely blindly on the quality of the track model (which has been validated already with some real world data in the past).

An important note, the model we run used a Sprint body kit in a Low Downforce configuration (Aero Map) and this is exactly what the real cars have done in Monza too, as far as i know.

Here below the main telemetry plots (you can also find them in High Res in my Flickr account).

speed and throttleLat Long gSteering

Here also a short video showing one of the first sessions Fabian run in the simulator (please apology the absence of car sound and the back noise, but for the driver himself wearing headphones is always the best solution).

Thanks a lot to Fabian for his visit and his support for this study.

I am already excited to see what will happen next weekend in Silverstone, when both the first ELMS and WEC season race will take place.
According to my results, if the weather is good and the track is in good conditions, we should see best lap times below 1’46”, probably close to 1’45″0.
Let’s see what will happen!


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