After many months and countless hours of work, the University of Pittsburgh Panther Racing Team has unveiled their 2017 Formula SAE race car. Sponsored by SimScale, the team now has their sights set on the Michigan International Speedway, where they will compete against 120 teams from around the world in the annual Formula SAE Competition from May 10-13th, 2017.
We spoke to Logan Tuite, a junior mechanical engineering student and aerodynamics team lead for the Panther Racing Team. He gave us an insider look into their season and talked to us about how they leveraged SimScale for the aerodynamic design of their single-seat, Formula-style race car.
Designing and Manufacturing the Race Car
The Panther Racing Team starts each season with a blank slate, or rather a blank sheet in SolidWorks, and designs the race car from the ground up. “Formula SAE changes the track and the rules every year—there’s a major rule change every two years and a minor rules change every year,” explains Logan. This encourages the teams to be innovative with their designs and incorporate new tools into their development processes each year.
One new tool being utilized by the team this year is SimScale, which Logan started using when he participated in our Applications of CFD in Formula Student and Formula SAE Workshop that took place in October and November of 2016. “When the SimScale workshop started, I started doing the CFD analyses that we had previously done in ANSYS on SimScale to see how we could compare the results. It all worked out really nicely,” says Logan.
Because he was away on a co-op and didn’t have access to his university’s computing lab, the big benefit of SimScale, according to Logan, is: “I was able to work with SimScale where ever I was.”
Throughout the season, the team used SimScale to design different components of their race car, including the undertray and front wing, as well as to perform a full CFD analysis for the car.
Competition Season for Panther Racing Team
With the competition season right around the corner, we asked Logan about his predictions for the team at the Michigan International Speedway.
“With this year’s car, we made a lot of changes—but it’s a solidly built car, so I’m going to put us in the Top 20 at Michigan,” he responded. We wish the Panther Racing team good luck at the Formula SAE Competition!
In the Formula SAE Competition, teams of undergraduate and graduate students are contracted by a fictional manufacturing company to build, design and race a single-seat, Formula-style race car, reaching speeds up to 80 mph. Teams are evaluated by industry experts in two categorie—Static Events and Dynamic Events—with design choices, cost-effectiveness, business presentations, and the performance of their car all factored into the overall score. The teams put it all on the line at the Michigan International Speedway where one team emerges victorious.
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