If I had one choice in a car, one which was more a necessity to have than a wanton desire, it would be an Aston Martin. A V12 Vantage to be exact. After the incisions healed… from the cuts to remove my organs which funded such an investment, I’d drive it all up and down the driveway like a cold-blooded, Hungarian
soup chef hitman, park it, then go eat goolash with a straw while admiring it through the window.
Now, if you’re familiar with Aston Martin’s consumer line of high end hotness, AMR is the racing division that packs even more speed into their stylish line of cars and develops the prototypes for the Le Mans race series, the FIA GT events and other Gran Turismo races around the world. In fact, if you venture over to Aston Martin Racing, you’ll see their latest cars, including the beautiful DBR, the Vantage and the AMR-One you’ll see in the images. We had an opportunity to ask Ian Ludgate, Chief Designer at Aston Martin Racing, a few questions about the racing, the design process, and the design challenges faced along the way.
The Gulf Liveried Aston Martin AMR-One is a new open-top LMP1 race car featuring a 2.0 litre turbocharged six cylinder direct injection petrol engine which has been developed for a new bespoke carbon fibre chassis designed and manufactured by Aston Martin Racing. – AMR
How did the ACO regulations affect the design of the car?
The ACO regulations have a large effect on the overall design of the car. There are strict parameters for the chassis / survival cell and crash tests to be carried out before the car can race. The bodywork is regulated (max width, length etc) and an engine cover fin is now mandatory to help prevent cars taking off when sideways at high speeds. Aero dynamic devises are also controlled by the regulations. These restrictions are done on the grounds of safety and to keep the lap time at Le Mans at an acceptable level.
- Minimum weight: 900 kg (1980 lb)
- Naturally-aspirated engines limited to 6000 cc (366.1 ci)
- Turbochargers and superchargers allowed: petrol engines with a maximum displacement of 4000 cc (244.1 ci); diesel engines with a maximum displacement of 5500 cc (336 ci)
- No limits on the number of cylinders for any type of engine
- Homologated production car engines (complying with LM GT1 regulations and at least 1000 units per year) allowed up to 7000 cc (427.2 ci)
- Fuel tank size of 90 litres (23.8 gallons) for petrol engines and 81 litres (21.4 gallons) for diesel engines
- Wheel size (maximum diameter) of 28.5 inches (720 mm) and maximum width of 16 inches (410 mm)
We’re other tools used in the process of the design?
Early on in the project renderings were done by AMR to give a flavour of the styling direction and these were used to create the first CAD models for CFD analysis. As the project progressed a chassis mockup was made to enable the drivers to experience the driving position and to help the designers to position the driver controls ergonomically .
How was rapid prototyping used for components on the car?
Rapid prototyping was widely used in the chassis mockup and engine mockup. This enabled us to manufacture the wiring looms before we had a complete car. The steering wheel and pedals were RPd to enable us to check the driver position in the chassis mockup before we had the actual parts. Editor: The 3D Printer was used to mock up the chassis, driver controls and engine of the race-car. More
What types of challenges were faced in the design of the car? How were they overcome?
The main challenge we faced was the time scale to produce the car. This was overcome by the designers working long days for 6 months. CFD aero analysis was used to reduce the time from concept to result and enabled us to do many iterations in a very short time.
Much thanks to Ian and the AMR team. It’s interesting to hear that the 6 month development period wasn’t all 40 hour weeks and happy thoughts. It took a lot of time and ‘long days’ for the 6 month cycle. Often, it comes down to the people, more than the tools, putting in the effort to make the dream possible. Knowing that effort is going to turn into one of the fastest straight-away speedsters on the earth certainly helps.
AMR is now using PTC’s Creo Elements/Pro (Wildfire shown above) and Windchill product management to help in the development and collaboration of the car. They’ve brought in both PTC products to bridge the process between defining the design and supplying the parts for the design, that according to Steve Baker, AMR’s PLM Speciualist, “supports the entire design from early-stage product development to manufacturing.” Read more here.