Aided by aerodynamic improvements using Exa Corporation's PowerFLOW simulation results, Andretti Autosport drove into the winner’s circle claiming the 2012 overall IZOD IndyCar Series as well as the Oval Championship titles. The trip to the podium for the overall IndyCar Championship was the first for an American team since 2006.
“This challenging IZOD IndyCar Series truly tests the car’s engineering as we need to adapt to ovals, permanent and temporary road courses from race to race,” commented Andretti Autosport President and CEO Michael Andretti. “Exa’s simulation accuracy and fast throughput were key factors in our success. We were especially thrilled with the aerodynamic performance this year; the insight the PowerFLOW simulations afforded us to analyze and optimize our car virtually between races made an enormous impact on our season.”
The Andretti Autosport team had high aspirations for the 2012 season but had limited access to wind tunnel and track testing due to their high costs. They worked with Kevin Golsch of Golsch Racing LLC who recommended using Exa PowerFLOW for accurate aero simulation. “Given their goal of modifying the vehicle in between races, my years of motorsport industry experience and knowledge of traditional CFD codes made recommending PowerFLOW to the Andretti Autosport team an obvious choice,” said Golsch. “PowerFLOW’s ability to handle the complete, complex geometry of these racecars allows teams to quickly and accurately test even minor modifications that could make a big impact aerodynamically.”
The Andretti Autosport team validated their initial PowerFLOW runs with a moving ground wind tunnel. “The results comparison gave us complete confidence in the accuracy and reliability of our Exa simulations,” remarked Senior Development Engineer Tino Belli. “We were somewhat surprised by the PowerFLOW results. Not all improvements indicated by simulation were intuitive, even with our collective breadth of racing expertise. PowerFLOW helped us identify new areas to explore virtually prior to car modifications. It was a huge cost savings for the team to test predominantly through simulation and reduce our tunnel testing to the bare minimum.”
The 2013 season will prove challenging for all IndyCar teams. Testing regulations have put a limit on full size wind tunnel testing to two days per team and four days for engine manufacturers. Michael Andretti remarked, “We feel ahead of the curve in our adoption of simulation as part of our engineering process and look forward to a winning season in 2013.”
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