Page 22 - Dallara Magazine

Is it also possible to analyze a driver's
racing style using this system?
Certainly. It’s never possible to make an
exact comparison between two drivers on the
track because the cars may be different and
track conditions may vary from moment to
moment: on the simulator it is possible to
isolate all the variables, modifying one
parameter at a time. This means that you can
be sure that the car and the track are always
the same. It’s the perfect tool for comparing
two different drivers».
Are there any objective studies that
demonstrate how faithfully the simulator
reproduces the experience on the track?
Numbers only tell a part of the story; to
get a better idea of how accurate the
simulator is, it is worth considering the
types of tests that the technicians here at
Dallara and the engineers that accompany
the drivers carry out during a session. It is
possible to carry out tests where the angle of
a wheel is modified by one tenth of a
degree, or some other configuration
parameter is varied by a single millimetre:
this gives an idea of just how accurate the
simulation is. It certainly wouldn't be
possible to alter a wheel alignment in a
video game and then observe the effect on
the action».
Will the simulator ever replace track
testing completely?
No, a 100% substitution will never be
possible. There is no limit to the tests that
can be carried out using the simulator, but
it can never reproduce the specific weather
conditions on a given day of the year, or a
particular track condition. The simulator
permits us to evaluate a series of
combinations and define about 80-85% of
the set-up for a car/driver pairing. And the
advantage of a simulator like the one at
Dallara is that, rather relying simply on
calculations, it uses calculations that are
evaluated in real time together with the
driver. However, it will never be possible to
replace the uncertainty factor introduced by
specific conditions on a specific day».
Computer, wind tunnel, simulator: how do
these three elements fit together?
In a company like Dallara, the simulator is
effectively used to collect information from all
the other departments. It imposes and
promotes interaction between different
departments. Since it is necessary to create a
model that represents the entire vehicle, each
sector responsible for providing a certain
feature of the car - designing the suspension,
calculating the aerodynamic performance on
the computer, performing measurements in
the wind tunnel, etc. – is obliged to work
towards completing the model that will be
used on the simulator. The simulator is like a
mirror image of the real car: the various
sectors work for the simulator, in the same
way as they would on the finished car, while
the simulator also works for the different
departments by evaluating the effectiveness of
an aerodynamic solution or a suspension
system designed in a certain way, together
with the driver».
How many hours is it in use every month?
How many people are required to operate
Part of the time the simulator is used
internally by Dallara to improve our current
and future projects, while the rest of the time
it is allocated to external customers. For
example, we are currently using it to develop
the Super Formula for the 2014 season,
before we build the actual prototype. Our
own test drivers use it around 50% of the
time, while the rest of the time it is available