Ansys Validates Safety of NASCAR’s Next Gen Race Car

Validation carried out via simulated crash tests that can drive cost savings, Ansys reports.

Validation carried out via simulated crash tests that can drive cost savings, Ansys reports.

NASCAR used Ansys' simulation solutions to ensure the safety of its Next Gen race car in time for the 2022 season with virtual crash tests that accelerated validation time and reduced material costs for physical testing by $1 million, according to the companies. The crash simulations allowed NASCAR to overcome pandemic-induced physical testing challenges and meet its goal to debut the car in February at the Daytona 500 motor race, the 500-mile season-opener considered the premier race in NASCAR.

By integrating Ansys LS-DYNA  into crash testing, NASCAR was able to analyze, test and validate multidirectional influences, including nonlinear and linear contact to the entire vehicle, spanning frontal impacts, roof crashes, lateral side impacts, rear impacts and oblique impacts. This high-fidelity data, compiled by virtual crash simulations, reduced typical validation timing and material costs by limiting physical crash tests—estimated at $500,000 each—to two full-scale vehicle physical crash tests.

Watch a brief video clip here of a crash test.

Ansys' predictive accuracy and results gave NASCAR the ability to build parts without physical crash test data during early development stages in 2020 when on-site crash facilities were shut down due to COVID-19. When physical crash tests were later performed, Ansys' simulation models were verified. Similarly, the software's cloud computing capabilities allowed NASCAR to run and manage a large volume of simulations remotely using Ansys Cloud.

“Ansys LS-DYNA was an important tool in getting the Next Gen car ready for the 2022 season,” says John Probst, senior vice president of Racing Innovation at NASCAR. “The ability to simulate crash tests with highly-reliable results helped us work through the pandemic and prepared us for our physical crash tests.”

NASCAR, working together with Elemance, LLC, performed the engineering and simulation work leveraging the software's built-in design optimization tools to enhance the crash performance of the front and rear bumpers via simulation.

“Ansys' crash simulation software provides a unique opportunity to safely analyze, test, and visualize an extensive amount of variables and conditions with confidence and precision,” said Walt Hearn, vice president of global sales and customer excellence at Ansys. “In addition to increasing safety, virtual testing significantly reduces development and validation time as well as material costs. We are proud that our simulation solutions supported NASCAR in each of these areas and helped get Next Gen ready to race for the 2022 season.”

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