Simulation tools are used in order to predict and analyse the maximum performance of race cars and fast road cars over a defined path, typically a lap of a race track. They are used extensively by motorsports teams to prepare any race driver to improve their driving techniques, consistency and laps.
Since the first computer simulations which date back from the late 1960s, the world of simulation tools has evolved enormously. During the past 20 years many simulation tools developed for the racing environment have seen the daylight.
Today computer simulations are employed in motorsports, either as an instructional tool regarding technique or strategy for an individual athlete or a team, or as an aid to equipment design and modification. As underlined by faqs.org, they combine four main distinct disciplines:
- Computer science
- Mechanical engineering
- Kinesiology and human performance disciplines
- Sport-specific coaching expertise
THE ADDED VALUE OF SIMULATION TOOLS
But why are they so useful and how do they contribute to the racer’s competitive outcomes? In other words, what are exactly their benefits?
- Race car drivers can practice on a computer for better performance during the race;
- Simulation tools help to understand the main reasons of the race car problems;
- They allow good prediction of changes in trends and/or patterns;
- They help improving the analysis of crucial racing data, by designing and validating everything (from traction control and anti-lock braking to suspension);
- Conditions can be varied and outcomes investigated; critical situations can be investigated with less risks.
Sun Tzu, the Chinese military general, strategist and philosopher said once:
It is said that one who knows his enemy and knows himself will not be endangered in a hundred engagements. One who knows neither his enemy nor himself will invariably be defeated in every engagement.
This is exactly the advantage that race car simulation tools can offer. They enable users to train themselves and better understand the car, so that – once arrived at the circuit – they are well prepared for every possible scenario.