Page 23 - Dallara Magazine

Do you expect to add any new circuits in
We are increasing the number of Italian and
European Formula 3 and World Series circuits,
and adding extra Formula 1 circuits».
Could you give us a brief summary of a
typical session on the simulator?
In the case of Gp2 or World Series, we play
host to the entire team, including the data
acquisition technicians and the drivers.
While a typical working day is very similar to
a working day on the track, a single session
on the simulator is equivalent to 3-4 days of
track time. If you consider that it is possible
to change the configuration in the same time
that it takes to change a spring, or that you
can replace an entire suspension or a
gearbox in a few seconds, it gives you an
idea of how much work the teams can get
through in a day on the simulator. The best
way to think of it is in terms of an extensive,
open test carried out by a team on the track
over a period of a few days. In such cases,
we provide the teams with all the tools they
need to manage the machine configuration,
and the data that they produce,
autonomously and safely. Everything ends
up on their computers. Our role is limited to
providing assistance in operating the test
How many people are required to operate
the simulator?
In situations like the one described above, no
more than one or two operators are
necessary. However, sometimes we receive
requests from drivers who want to compare
two different cars, for example drivers who
are thinking about stepping up from Formula
to a higher category. In this case, the driver
will not be accompanied by a team and will
not have a pre-established test program. And
that’s where we step in: the vast majority of
our personnel have experience of working
trackside and this means that we can help
our customers to prepare a tailor-made test
program. If a driver wants to experience
specific racing conditions, practise starts,
experiment with tyre heating, work on
exploiting the half hour qualifying period,
short or long runs, we can help to implement
a test plan that is designed to meet his or her
specific requirements. It only takes a few
minutes to carry out the transition from one
car to another. The simulator features a vast
range of tests».
How long does a typical day last?
The day is divided into two four hour
sessions. It’s possible to get an enormous
amount of work done in a single session, in
fact a team can complete as many as
laps of a medium length circuit in
just four hours. Testing may range from a
single four hour session to several days,
during which a team may allow various
different drivers to have time on the
Who are the most famous drivers to have
used the simulator?
We’ve had the majority of drivers from GP2
and World Series, and this includes some that
have already moved on to Formula 1, or who
are about to. We have also hosted drivers such
as Gianmaria Bruni, who helped us to set the
system up. One of our most satisfied
customers is Jean Alesi, who came to us to
prepare for the Indianapolis 500. We have
recently been expanding in the American
market so we have also had visits from Ryan
Briscoe, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay,
Marco Andretti, Scott Dixon, to name but a
Any amusing stories to tell?
One of the must entertaining sessions was
with Kanaan, in the autumn of 2011. He
came to try out the Indycar for the following
season together with his technicians; the car
was already in production and there were
only three months to go before the teams
started taking delivery. Tony is a very
friendly person, as well as being a model
professional, and he hit it off immediately
with the Dallara personnel who were present
during the tests. In fact, they got on so well
that, once the session was over, he asked
which of our technicians was the best driver
and challenged him to a race on the
simulator. Unfortunately for him, what he
didn’t know was that our man had recently
carried out hundreds of hours of tests,
setting up the model, the tyres, and the
track, so he was more than ready for him!
Tony accepted his narrow defeat with a
smile, and even presented his rival with the
gloves that he used the last time he raced in
the Indianapolis 500 as a prize! A true
Have you ever tried the Dallara simulator
out yourself?
Yes; I’m part of the model-vehicle
development group, and we are personally
responsible for making sure that everything
functions as it should. Some of the other lads
at Dallara are much better than me, but I
have to admit that testing the GP2, taking
into account the type of car that it is, and
driving the IndyCar round the oval at
Indianapolis are very special experiences».
Admit it: have you ever had a “virtual”
You know how it is: a non-professional driver
finds his limit by turning back after realising
that he has just exceeded it…».
Stefano Semeraro
to individual drivers, teams with more than
one driver, or companies involved in
designing racing and production cars. The
simulator is used for these two purposes to
varying degrees every week. Naturally, during
the racing season, we leave more time for
those who want to prepare for a race».
How many circuits and types of car is it
possible to test on the simulator in Varano?
It can be configured with all our cars: Gp2,
Gp3, Formula 3, World Series, IndyCar, Grand
Am, and an ever increasing variety of tracks.
We currently feature all the circuits used for
the Gp2 and Gp3 championships, a large
number of European circuits and about half
the American circuits; and we intend to keep