Williams Advanced Engineering in Qatar has developed the Middle East’s most advanced motorsport simulator that was locally designed and constructed in 2011. This simulator is based on technology used by the Williams F1 Team but has been further developed to cater to a wider range of racing drivers.
This application teaches the racing driver the circuit layout and to identify approximate racing lines. There is a requirement for high fidelity graphics to ensure that “negative training” does not occur, in which the driver relies on a feature which does not match reality for example a brake-marker board that does not exist at the circuit. Circuits are recreated in the simulator based on real-world accurate laser scans of the race tracks so that they provide the driver with a realistic simulation of all surface features.
Restricted circuit testing in many series makes this a useful tool, particularly when new circuits are added to a race calendar.
Driver Training and Evaluation
The focus with this application is on driver skill development. In order to maximise the learning opportunity presented by the simulator, its response to driver inputs must be consistent with the real car. This application requires the addition of a high fidelity circuit physics model and chassis model.
The data analysis tools are then used by a qualified track engineer to diagnose the driver’s mistakes, provide constructive feedback and develop the driving technique. It can also be used as a training aid for the driver in how to provide feedback to the engineer.
In Formula One the demands on the driver are constantly evolving; for 2012 as well as the typical controls such as those relating to gears, fuel mix, differential behaviour and team radio there is the additional demand of a Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) and an adjustable rear wing. The on-car systems are controlled by the ECU, so in order to replicate the electronic and mechanical systems on the car it is necessary to incorporate the same ECU into the simulation. This “hardware-in- the-loop” (HIL) approach ensures that the simulator’s environment is consistent with that of the real car and allows the driver to learn the various car systems.
As the ECU controls the gearbox and engine (for example fuel injectors and spark timings), it is also necessary for the drive-train model to be sophisticated in order that an unmodified ECU can control it.