Posted by: drracing | July 5, 2018

Short update

Hi everybody!

Quite some time since my last post here, hopefully this trend will be inverted in the next few weeks.

2018 has been indeed a very busy year till now. And a very exciting one too!

As maybe somebody reading here already knows, since January i am contributing a bit to theRacingLine, a very nice website dealing mainly with Sportscars and GT racing.
I mainly write tech articles there, trying to keep them as easy as possible, in order, first of all, not to bore too much the people who are crazy enough to read them and, secondly, to make them interesting for a broader audience than the even more crazy people who, from time to time, comes here to read something.
Till now we dealt with the basics about tyres, here and about aerodynamics, here, each with a series of 6-7 articles.
Next up will be a longer series about handling.

Of course, i highly recommend anybody interested in race car technology to pay a visit to theRacingLine! it is, in general, a very nice website!

In the mean time, i was also very busy on the simulation side.
I was lucky enough to come into contact with a motorsport legend, Jeff Braun and i started to support him and his current team, CORE Autosport, on the simulation side.
CORE Autosport takes part in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship in North America, competing in both the GTLM class (as a Porsche work team) and DPi/LMP2 class, with an FIA spec. Oreca 07. Jeff is engineering the LMP2 car, with the two “resident” drivers being Jon Bennet and his son Colin Braun. For the long races, anyway, they also get some help from another legend, Romain Dumas and for the 24 Hours of Daytona they also had another great driver in the car, Loic Duval (ex Audi LMP1 driver and now competing for the german brand in DTM).
We built up a very very detailed vehicle model of their car, basing on my LMP2 model and went on refining it constantly, both to improve correlation with real data and to add new features that the team would like to test.
The first thing we did was to include a tyre model representing their tyres into my original model. After that, we used their logged data to check the correlation and to improve it further, by adjusting some small bit and pieces.
The team also carried over some specific tests and measurements on the real car to reproduce some areas of the vehicle better in simulation environment.
I will write about this project more in details in a different article.
Anyway, to describe very briefly what we are doing, we currently mainly focus on the preparation of races and test days, testing in the simulator a range of solutions to help Jeff and the Team to know upfront what to expect, on what to focus more and to understand which direction seemed to work better and what was probably not worth any real testing time.
As always, one of the biggest advantages of using a driving simulator is that it gives a chance to evaluate the results of each test both objectively (analyzing simulations results and data and comparing several sessions and/or logged data) and subjectively, also to understand not only how the performance potential of the car changes with specific setup changes, but also which impact on the driver they have.
I guess it is not necessary to say how much fun this makes and how much one can learn from a similar experience, both about simulation and racecar development and engineering.
Beside this, working with a guy like Jeff is something extremely special. He is not only an engineering legend (see here his Linkedin profile), who won more or less any important race in North America (he worked more or less on any car, including Indycar, Prototypes, GT and much more), but also a unique person, who somehow manage to make also the most challenging projects extremely easy and from whom anybody can learn a lot. I certainly do!
I am always amazed to see how such a smart, experienced and successful person like Jeff is, at the same time, so easy, nice and positive not only about his work, but about life and personal relationships in general. I always admired him as an engineer, but to know the guy behind the mind has been an even nicer surprise!
This is surely one of the most funny and exciting projects i have been involved in many years.
On a further plus, last weekend CORE Autosport scored a pole position in Watkins Glen and finished second after six hours of racing, but only because of a yellow flagged that come out with about 30 minutes to go and completely destroyed a 26 seconds lead that they had at that time, also putting them in a bad position with the fuel strategy. After that FCY and pit stop, they came out in 8th position but in less than half an hour recovered finishing second.
All of this, although after about 90 minutes into the race they were in 13th position.
Without that neutralization, CORE could surely win the race.
The car was really good!


Beside this, i got to support two drivers who compete in the WEC Superseason and both raced in Le Mans this year.

One of them is Giedo Van der Garde, who races with the duch team Racing Tam Nederland this year, aboard a Dallara LMP2 car. He immediately impressed at his debut Race in Spa, in May, when he overtook more or less the whole LMP2 field, taking the lead of the race in the early phases like it was the easiest thing in life! And all of this after more than one year since he last drove in a titled race, when he won the ELMS title in 2016.
I was lucky enough to get in contact with him and being asked to prepare a vehicle model that he uses for his training in his own simulator.

VdGarde Dallara Spa

The other one is Mathias Beche, who competes in LMP1 with Rebellion and finished third overall in Le Mans (or, we should say, “first of the others”, as Toyota was clearly in another class, but this is a different story).
Mathias is an extremely talented driver but also a very nice guy, very respectful and very open and extremely passionate about what he does.
He regularly trains in his own simulator and, since some time, he uses a vehicle model that i prepared for him.
Beside being an extremely fast driver, Mathias has a very good understanding of racecar engineering and tuning and believes strongly in the advantages of proper simulator training. He his also extremely accurate when he works on car setup with his engineers and he translate this skills also in his simulation experience.
This makes working with him extremely interesting, because his technical understanding and dedication is reflected very well in the detailed feedback he can give about the model and about its setup. It is extremely interesting to hear his thoughts and reactions not only about the model itself, but also about the setup changes I did, during the development phase, to make the car handle in a way i would think being realistic.
For now, Mathias used the model to mainly train for Le Mans and, apparently, this helped him a bit in achieving a podium results, together with his crew mates. Not bad!

rebellion 2018 LMù

That’s it for now. These projects are keeping me very busy and that’s why i didn’t write much here in the last few months. Anyway, I hope to be able to post some new articles soon, going back to tech topics.

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