CFD Simulation contributes to NASCAR success

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CFD predictions were proven in testing, reducing wind tunnel time and costs

North Carolina company helps JTG Daugherty Racing take pole position for Daytona 500 using Computational Fluid Dynamics

D2H Engineering, experts in aerodynamics and computational fluid dynamics (CFD), has played a key role in recent NASCAR successes for JTG Daugherty Racing. A combination of ANSYS solver and in-house D2H software has boosted resolution and shortened timescales to provide further competitive advantage and move the team up the leaderboard.

Improved aerodynamics has provided the NASCAR Cup Series team with enhanced race performance during the delayed 2020 season, helping them to achieve a number of top-five finishes before a thrilling photo-finish 2nd place at Talladega, as well as a memorable pole position at the Daytona 500. JTG Daugherty Racing’s close work with North Carolina-based D2H, which has its global headquarters in the UK, has led to performance gains and improved race results thanks to D2H’s novel approach to aerodynamics and CFD.

“JTG Daugherty Racing fought hard to continually raise their performance over the last few years,” said Noah McKay, D2H’s engineering director. “We worked with them for a while on the aero side last year and it was clear to us that our approach to high quality CFD could help make some gains, so in 2020 we have been given the opportunity to help them advance, with great results so far.”

D2H’s strategy towards the CFD process when developing external aerodynamic performance is quite different to many others, as the company is challenging the perception of effective CFD being expensive and time-consuming. McKay explained: “CFD is often viewed as either effective but very costly and long-winded, or affordable but unable to provide useful results.

“However, we use ANSYS CFD software, which we’ve found to be the fastest and most accurate solver while offering us the most options of any CFD software on the market,” he continued. “We have developed our own complementary software such as CAD-Check, which we deploy to further enhance the accuracy and speed of the process while giving us the control we need to manage the quality. In this way we can offer highly effective CFD analysis within a timescale and at a cost which surprises our customers.”

D2H’s CAD-Check software, which rapidly checks CAD data for viability and ensures higher precision results and fewer downstream delays from CAD errors, has been an important part of the jigsaw. McKay added, “CAD-Check can save days of engineering time versus a more trial and error approach, and it can be driven by the aero engineer with no requirement for CFD engineering input.”

Another factor in the success story is that D2H uses far larger mesh sizes which, in this case, are 20 times larger than those used by key rivals. “The increased mesh size gives us real accuracy improvements, rather like a high resolution photograph, allowing us to analyze specific areas in greater detail, which is critical when seeking improved aero performance,” said McKay. “The combination of accurate source CAD, high-resolution CFD and an integrated process with aero design and wind tunnel testing gives our clients a significant advantage. JTG Daugherty Racing is a great example.”

The team certainly seem to agree. Dave Charpentier, JTG’s director of engineering, said, “D2H gives us access to state-of-the-art CFD tools and the experience to exploit them which would not normally be available to a team of our size. This has helped us put cars on the track that are the equal of much larger teams with significantly deeper pockets. They provide practical, workable solutions that we can implement immediately to improve our race cars on a consistent, continuing basis. Quite simply, engaging D2H is one of the best investments we’ve made.”

“When CFD is used at high resolution in conjunction with time-saving systems, and is integrated into the aerodynamic development process, it can be extremely valuable and cost effective,” concludes McKay. “The combination of D2H processes and software with ANSYS CFD has proved to be a fantastic formula for success.”

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