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Aerodynamic Modeling and Simulation Application

Problem

A fast pace for the start of an internationally-recognized motorsport season characterized this engagement. Our client, a race car engine manufacturer, needed to recreate aerodynamic modeling software built over many years in a matter of two months.

Race team engineers need this software to simulate the performance of the car with various aerodynamic components installed and configured. It also allows them to model how weather and track conditions will affect the car’s performance. The modeling software tells the engineer how the car would act in terms of things like downforce, drag, and aerodynamic balance.

Winning races is more than just good driving. This modeling software is a key tool in the race engineer’s toolbox. Since testing setups of actual cars is not always feasible or affordable, race teams need this software to have a chance of competing.

Solution

The engineering team from SEP and our client quickly got to work. Within a short time frame, we generated an initial minimum viable product. From there we worked iteratively, increasing functionality over the course of the season. Each release coincided with another race, bringing new functionality and improved usability. A tight feedback loop with our client helped ensure we were building the best tool to meet our client and its race teams’ needs.

After releasing the initial version of the software, we interacted directly with our client’s race teams. We met with each team and watched as they used the tool. Getting firsthand user feedback allows us to better understand our users’ perspective. They noted the fresh visual design and increased dynamic flexibility as improvements over the old software.

Result

Immersing ourselves in the excitement of the racing season, forming a great partnership with our client, and accomplishing a very quick turnaround made this project a success. However we experienced the biggest win when we watched a team using the software win the premiere event of the season. We had released a new version just prior to the race and the team used it to configure its cars. Many factors contribute to a win in racing, but it was exciting to be part of such a huge achievement with our client so soon after creating the software.

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