The upgrades to Prema Racing’s driving simulator lie beneath the surface


Prema Racing, an Italian racing team competing in F2, F3 and F4, has upgraded its driving simulator with open-architecture software, which has boosted its capabilities in data analysis for optimal car set-up without needing to invest in new hardware. The project has involved integrating the team’s hardware with Panthera software and setting up the Cruden Simulink Vehicle Model (CSVM), a multi-body vehicle model.

Guillaume Capietto, technical director of Prema Racing, explained the investment: “Our previous simulator was reasonably good for driver training and track learning, but it wasn’t realistic enough to be used for car development or setup optimization and was not really open to development by our own engineers. But the hardware we had was good, so we decided to make better use of its capabilities with new software.”

The Panthera software is intended to give better platform cueing for enhanced driver immersion, aided by the system’s better performing and more efficient image rendering and higher display frequency. Further enhancements include better control of steering force feedback and belt-tensioner cueing, more realistic car and tire models; and better correlation between simulation and real-life driving.

“Our aim is to have a multibody car model which allows us to measure and improve our understanding of setup changes, and to develop our tire model in order to assess data on tire preparation, thermal behaviour and wear,” added Capietto.

Prema Racing’s existing simulator motion system was evaluated prior to the project, including its pedal box, IO modules, seat belt-loader, XAP steering wheel and projection system. Following this stage, the simulator was equipped with the CSVM, which will be used to model cars. The Panthera software suite then centralizes control of simulator components including motion and control loading, visuals, vehicle dynamics and audio. Panthera was integrated with the existing motion platform, steering wheel, belt loader and pedal box.

With support from a Cruden senior vehicle dynamist, Prema’s engineers are now working on adapting CSVM to match the new 2018 F2 car.

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Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

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