Italian race car manufacturer Picchio has selected LMS Virtual.Lab Motion in designing suspensions for its motorsports vehicles, including closed-cockpit Grand-Am and Daytona class vehicles. In a move to expand its business, Picchio is also using the software in developing custom-built high-performance sports cars for road driving.
The challenge for Picchio was to improve the competitiveness of its cars by increasing vehicle speed by optimising suspension systems, for example, to provide for better on-track handling. The challenge also is to develop suspensions for its forthcoming GT sports cars intended to provide the excitement and responsive feel of a race car with the safety of a road vehicle.
‘Our ability to develop finely-tuned suspensions reached a limit by relying solely on physical prototype testing,’ said Picchio senior designer Christian Stronati. ‘We needed a way to zero in on the best design without building and testing so many hardware prototypes. The logical step for us is using multibody simulation to predict suspension performance. This enables us to go through numerous iterations and still meet critical windows of opportunity.’
Picchio implemented LMS Virtual.Lab Motion for simulating full-vehicle ride and handling behavior. The software has a special interface for building front and rear-axle suspension models, including flexible parts such as springs, bushing and dampers.
‘LMS Virtual.Lab Motion has all the capabilities we need in an integrated package with an intuitive, graphical interface that is easy to use - an important issue considering our engineering team had no previous experience whatsoever with multibody simulation,’ added Stronati. He also noted the convenience of importing suspension geometry directly into the LMS software from Picchio’s Pro/Engineer CAD system.
‘LMS Virtual.Lab Motion allows us to drive vehicle models around a virtual test track to see how cars handle, while we look at the detailed models of the suspension, plots of loads, accelerations and various other parameters. With this, we can fine-tune the behavior of the suspension by studying the effect of modifying critical parts such as the shock absorbers. In this respect, the LMS software lets us best leverage the tremendous engineering experience at Picchio in developing innovative racing vehicles and exciting sports cars,’ according to Stronati.