Motorsport is a quest for the all-important competitive advantage. From the initial design of the car and the preparation of the driver, through to setup choices, strategy decisions and energy management, every single aspect of a successful competition programme comes down to utilising resources as effectively as possible.
To complicate matters, professional-level motorsport is a highly dynamic environment. Rules are continually changing, technology is evolving, and in some categories the cars can receive significant updates from one race to the next. Consequently, it’s not always possible to work through each of these challenges with real-world testing alone.
Next come the issues of cost, logistics and privacy. For example, teams may need to transport cars to suitable test venues in the winter months, book private test sessions and, in some cases, join hosted test sessions where competing teams may be present. But more fundamentally, most series now impose strict limits on all forms of real-world testing.
All this has placed added emphasis on the use of simulation. At the same time, more affordable computing power, improved hardware and growing expertise has pushed the benefits of many different simulation technologies, including Driver-in-the-Loop (DIL) simulation.
In this paper, we’ll discuss some of the challenges faced by race teams, as well as the relevance and practicality of DIL simulation. The three main types of DIL simulators are defined and described, and a DIL simulator selection checklist is provided to help race engineers, technical directors, programme managers and other stakeholders assess various DIL simulator technologies.