Lotus Renault complete wind tunnel and CFD upgrade

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Lotus Renault have announced that they have completed their ongoing windtunnel upgrade, along with more CFD computing power. To help the drivers with their race preparation, the driving simulator has also been enhanced.

"Although the demands of the racing season are relentless, an F1 team with any ambition for the future must make a steady flow of long term investments to ensure a solid technical foundation for the coming seasons. To guarantee that LRGP can continue its climb back to the top and remain competitive in the sport for years to come, we have made three significant investments in 2011 at our factory in Enstone."

Driving Simulator With in-season testing all but extinguished from the sport, the teams have sought to create a virtual testing environment using sophisticated driver simulators. Achieving this has proved to be a significant engineering challenge. LRGP have now judged that the technology is now sufficiently mature and the time is right to make a considerable investment in a state of the art simulator. The facility will be brought online towards the end of 2011 and will be a valuable performance tool over the coming seasons.

Upgraded wind tunnel The wind tunnel that was built at Enstone in 1998 was the first of a new generation of Formula 1 wind tunnels. At the time, it was a ground-breaking development, but after 12 years of sterling service it was in need of a midlife upgrade. At the end of 2009 the team took the first step in upgrading the facility when a new rolling road was fitted. In the first quarter of 2011 the upgrade was completed by modifying the tunnel to accommodate a bigger model and installing a much more capable 60% scale model into it.

"The term “model” does not really do justice to the sophisticated piece of engineering that we use as the backbone of our wind tunnel testing. The new model has many man years of design and hundreds of thousands of pounds invested in it. It is stuffed full with new sensors and equipment that will allow us to perform much more accurate experiments than our old 50% model. We are looking forward to reaping the benefit of this investment over the coming months and years."

Faster CFD Supercomputer In Formula 1, Computational Fluid Dynamics is a vital complementary tool to traditional wind-tunnel testing. Renault F1 was one of the first teams to invest heavily in this technology, but with computing, nothing ever stands still, and although the original CFD Centre Supercomputer was only two years old, the time was right to invest in new hardware.

In January we installed a new Supercomputer cluster using the latest chipsets. Our new cluster has been designed to work optimally within the FOTA Aerodynamic Restrictions, delivering greater computational efficiency and saving money on the team's electricity bill.

Source: Lotus Renault GP