Ford’s performance team spends a lot of time creating the most innovative technology around to improve performance in its racing vehicles. But Ford’s performance technology isn’t just used in its racers. In fact, many of these technologies have made their way into Ford’s regular lineup and have even sped up production for some.
Ford’s racing and performance research has created technology that helps the company streamline production of its consumer lineup. Various simulators have been made that let Ford reduce the number of prototypes it creates, which means not only a faster development process but also lower costs and fewer wasted materials.
Among other developments from Ford Performance are an innovative 3D race environment and a vehicle dynamic simulator, which are being tested at a facility in North Carolina. This facility was initially opened purely for performance research, but Ford has since realized how useful the technology is for its regular lineup.
According to Ford, its 2019 NHRA Funny Car lineup will be the first ever to have racing bodies built entirely digitally before a physical prototype is made thanks to the dynamic simulator. This simulator lets developers predict the aerodynamics of a vehicle with computational fluid dynamics and manufacture it virtually.
Ford has even developed technology for calculating the wear on tires for both racing and regular use and used the information to improve tire longevity. The new Ford GT racecar was tested thoroughly in the 3D race environment simulator before it was put into production, racing on simulations of real tracks from around the world for hundreds of hours.
These simulations are driven by a person, who can easily get motion sickness if the simulation isn’t perfectly calibrated to provide a realistic driving experience and keep the driver from getting pulled out of focus. The movement of the vehicle, surrounding visuals and audio, modeling, and more, work together to produce results that closely mimic real life.
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