New Ford Technical Support Center to help its NASCAR race cars

Ford announced the opening of its new Ford Technical Support Center in Concord, N.C. on Wednesday (something it needs given Chevy eats their lunch in just about every racing series). The state-of-the-art facility will add an array of tools to develop future performance vehicles and help increase Ford's overall success in motorsports. Expected to be fully operational later this summer, the 33,000-square-foot building will serve as a center for Ford Racing technical support and for teams to develop and test their cars for competition. The location was selected because of its proximity to the NASCAR research and development center and a majority of race car team headquarters. Beyond its direct and immediate effect on Ford Racing, the new technical center with its advanced simulation and measurement tools is just the latest investment by Ford in its pursuit to offer a profitable lineup of performance vehicles. The new infrastructure will allow swifter and smarter leverage of the latest in product development technology.

Initially, the facility will focus on supporting NASCAR teams in all three major touring divisions, but will eventually expand to include other Ford Racing teams participating in other series. The centerpiece of the building is a full-motion platform simulator that will allow Ford Racing teams to optimize their setups for individual track configurations, and for drivers to practice driving a track ahead of an upcoming race weekend. Similar technology has been used in Formula One. After the simulator has been proven through racing, Ford will apply that knowledge to further improve vehicle dynamics on its high-performance street vehicles. In addition, the simulator will help hone communication between driver, crew chief and engineer, while also refining predictability and accuracy of simulation software.

The support facility will also serve as a parts distribution warehouse. The various pieces of test equipment include:
• Kinematics machine: This machine can test and measure suspension kinematics – camber, toe, scrub and various loads with tires and springs. Race teams use this weekly to set up their front suspensions for different track configurations
• Chassis torsional twist rig: Used to quantify the chassis structurally in the torsional mode – the key parameter for a chassis. It can be used to determine the entire torsional stiffness of the car, the stiffness of the chassis independently, or the influence of various components on the car
• Vehicle center of gravity machine: This is used to precisely measure the center of gravity height of a completed car. It can be used to quantify improvements over time. Race teams generally use the machine once a quarter to gauge progress and test their latest theories
• Coordinate measurement machine: This machine enables teams to measure their components for quality control and to build simulation models, which allows them to make sure their cars comply with regulations. Ford Racing

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