"Seven point rig" control room where the Panasonic Toyota Racing’s TF108 is put through its simulation paces. Image Credit: Toyota Motorsport
F1's Panasonic Toyota Racing Montreal Reality Check
In the most recent edition of the run for the world championship of Formula 1 open wheel racing, Canada and the track at Montreal proved to be a study in preparation and strong driving for Toyota.
The drives put on by both Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli of Panasonic Toyota Racing was quite impressive once one realizes that Glock qualified in position 13 and Trulli at 14. In F1, to be able to score any points at the end of the race from these starting positions is very rare especially since in F1, only the top eight finishing positions are awarded points.
It did not hurt that during the race, four cars that qualified ahead of them found trouble on the track and had to bow out due to accidents, but this does not completely explain how Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli were able to move up nine and seven positions respectively.
On track performance, incidents, strategy, and off-track preparation all combine into a perfect storm of performance and this video produced by Toyota gives insight to a form of car preparation beyond the wind tunnel.
This provided by Panasonic Toyota Racing –
Panasonic Toyota Racing – 2008 Canadian Grand Prix Feature: Reality Check
The majestic sight of Panasonic Toyota Racing’s TF108, sweeping through corners at speed, is the public face of Formula 1; but away from the Grand Prix track there is another, hidden world of continuous technical development – a world that increasingly relies on digital simulation.
"I think we live in a digital world now. We have to recognize that; and, in Formula 1, we are pushing the limits of simulation and the utilization of computer power to absolutely understand where the performance can be found in the future. So even if we still use track testing or wind tunnel testing normally, the area we’re looking in is pre-defined by computer simulation. And we’re looking in a fruitful area where we can cultivate performance." states, John Howett, President, Panasonic Toyota Racing.
Simulation technologies are used by many departments within Panasonic Toyota Racing.
For example, in its preparations for the Canadian Grand Prix, the team uses a so-called ‘seven-post rig.’
It’s a sophisticated system of hydraulic rams that can exactly recreate the suspension movements of any of last year’s Grand Prix races.
It’s particularly important for the race in Montreal.
Chief Engineer Race and Test, Panasonic Toyota Racing says, "It’s very important because, contrary to other circuits, you have the chicanes where the more you can ride the kerbs the more you can straight line them, and the more time you're gonna gain. That means if you have a car that handles perfect over the kerbs you take them with you and you're going to gain a lot of speed and lap time, just only in the chicanes which you don’t have to gain on the rest of the circuit."
"Seven point rig" contact point at the right front tire in a "Back To The Future" type of ride simulator testing tool. The Panasonic Toyota Racing’s TF108 is put through its simulation paces. Image Credit: Toyota Motorsport
All of these assets for testing strategies paid off. The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve invariably delivers a dramatic race and the combination of on track performance, incidents, strategy, and off-track preparation all combined to deliver a perfect storm of performance for Panasonic Toyota Racing's Montreal (digital) Reality Check with Timo Glock placing fourth and Jarno Trulli a sixth.