In the United States, there are two main types of car racing: open-wheeled (i.e., or Formula One) and stock car (i.e., NASCAR) racing. Comparing the two is like comparing fighter jets to B-52 bombers where one is built for speed and the other is a workhorse.
The open-wheeled racecar attributes its superior performance to a low weight, low center of gravity chassis, powerful engine, and fluid aerodynamics. The open wheels also help keep the brakes cool, which helps in long races with varying speeds. But the sleekness of the racecar comes at a price. Wheel-to-wheel contact is dangerous, particularly when the forward edge of one tire contacts the rear of another tire. The treads are going in opposite directions at a high speed, and when the two tires meet, the resulting rapid deceleration torques the chassis of both cars and often causes one or both vehicles to be suddenly and powerfully flung upwards.
A wreck between two or more open-wheeled cars can look like fall leaves rustled up by the wind – until, of course, you realize that those aren’t leaves but real cars, going over 200 mph, with real people driving them.
In the American Indy Racing League (IRL), there have been four fatal crashes over the past 15 years. That’s too many. Dallara, an Italian racecar designer, has been with the IRL since its beginning, and is dedicated to improving the safety of their racecars. Using Creo Parametric, they’re able to design the car in 3D and simulate how the car will perform in high-speed. Dallara says, “In a world of fast-paced change, this flexibility allows for the cost-effective rapid incorporation of design changes and the tailoring of the design to customer’s unique requirements.”
In this video, Vince and Allison show how Dallara made changes to the chassis design to not only keep drivers safe in an accident but help prevent the accidents from even occurring.