U.S. based Dallara IndyCar simulator under construction
With torso attached to its legs, personnel from multiple countries have begun to connect the electrical systems to bring the fraternal twin to the 3-year-old simulator in Varano de Melegari, Italy, to life in Speedway, Ind.
Not to worry; the mechanical marvel that resembles a black arachnid is firmly secured to the concrete floor – which is 5 feet thick and independent of the rest of the building’s base because the simulator’s movements would shake the entire facility -- and behind a strong door in a two-story corner of Dallara USA’s factory and edutainment center.
It’s been the plan all along, according to Dallara USA CEO and General Manager Stefano dePonti, to house a commercially available companion to the vehicle dynamic simulator in the expansive 2-year-old facility on Main Street.
With real time driver-in-the-loop controls, the Dallara simulator offers engineers, race teams and drivers car set-up development, data analysis, refinement of driving technique, learning new tracks and even the layout of new racing circuits. With a 180-degree video screens and Dolby Surround 5.1 audio system, the driver is immersed in the car’s movements on the racetrack that has been laser scanned. Already, the reconfigured Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course, which will host the inaugural Indianapolis Grand Prix on May 10, is available. Engineers can quickly program and evaluate alterations to the car.
The simulators will be linked together and “benefit from the experiences,” according to Dallara testing manager Alessandro Moroni, though the younger brother is more powerful because of technology advancements in the interceding two years. “Innovation and development are at the core of testing.”
The simulator, which is scheduled to be fully operational by the end of April, isn’t only reserved for racing applications. It will serve as a platform for the development of motor vehicles and associated components.
“Automotive and tire manufacturers, any kind of simulation,” dePonti said. “I also have in mind simulations with police departments for training, such as car chases.”
Added Moroni: “You can test a new component with accuracy and less expense than real testing. You get aware by using the simulator; if I use it for this maybe I can use it for this other aspect.”
Dallara has a partnership with the motorsports engineering program at the Purdue School of Engineering and Technology at Indiana University-Purdue University to conduct basic and applied research involving dynamic vehicle simulation. The project is aimed to advance motorsports engineering techniques and motorsports-related economic development opportunities for the state of Indiana.
“We are excited to have a cutting-edge tool right here in the motorsports capital of the world that has previously been tested by several renowned drivers in Italy,” Dallara CEO Andrea Pontremoli said. “Dallara looks forward to collaborating with Hoosier universities to realize the full potential of this tool. We are thankful for the state of Indiana’s support that will complement and complete our investment in the IndyCar factory." Dave Lewandowski/IndyCar