||A major contributor to this article appears to have a close connection with its subject. (July 2012)|
|Industry||LeMans LMP[jargon] Engineering Racing Design Simulators F1|
|Headquarters||Bicester, Oxfordshire, England|
Wirth Research is a group of engineering companies, founded by Nicholas Wirth in 2003, specialising in research, development, design and manufacture for the motor racing industry and other high technology sectors.
The companies pioneer the use of advanced virtual engineering technologies developed in-house, which enable the use of a complete simulated vehicle design, development and testing process. The company claims this process reduces the need for development models and prototype manufacture.
The Wirth Research group have a long-standing partnership with Honda Performance Development Inc (HPD)  on the design, development and manufacture of the championship winning ARX sports cars. Wirth Research have recently announced a new project with Honda Performance Development in which the two companies will collaborate to provide client IndyCar teams with full technical support. The project will also see the two companies develop the new bodywork aerodynamic kits that Honda are set to offer to teams in 2013.
Wirth Research has internationally recruited engineers from a range of design disciplines that include:
The large aerodynamics department is staffed by designers with a background in the aerodynamic development of championship winning race cars from Formula One to IndyCars, sports cars and touring cars. The aerodynamic concepts generated at Wirth Research are typically evaluated by WR Digital.
Real-world validation and performance verification are integral to the aerodynamic development processes at Wirth Research, therefore to supplement mainstream Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) development, Wirth Research have created full-scale wind-tunnel testing technologies and full-car test systems. These are used to validate full-scale aerodynamic test components prior to race application with the aim of saving often expensive and time-consuming, unrepeatable straight line track testing.
Wirth Research has developed a range of bespoke software solutions and simulation tools to meet the needs of specific customers in areas including data analysis, aerodynamics, Computational Fluid Dynamics, trackside software, engine and vehicle simulation.
Typically these simulation tools are customised to a client's requirements and are designed with the sole purpose of allowing faster and more detailed real time in-event optimisation or pre-event analysis than those used by a team's rivals.
As well as software tools designed to purely improve performance, Wirth Research's programmers have also developed software for car safety including:
- Analysis of position and type of trackside safety barriers to optimise energy absorbing structure positions at racing circuits.
- Dynamic simulations to allow the study of the effects of high speed aerodynamic instability that can lead to a racing car becoming airborne as a result of its design.
- Calculation of impact speeds for high performance cars for individual racing circuits.
- Safety-related car aerodynamic stability investigations.
The two Wirth Research simulators allow a complete mathematical representation of all elements of a racing car (aerodynamics, chassis, engine, drive train and tyres) to be assembled together and controlled by a driver.
The driver's experience of controlling a simulated vehicle is designed to be very similar to that of driving the actual race car. This technology allows different car configurations to be tested without the expense, restrictions and difficulties of track testing.
Wirth Research hold an extensive library of tracks and use the latest technology to ensure the accuracy of track models.
Virtual Reality technology is under continuous development at Wirth Research. It is used to eliminate wasteful and expensive prototypes, check new concepts for ergonomic and visibility issues and allow clients and partners to visualise new ideas in 1:1 scale.
Wirth Research has created a low-volume, aerospace-quality composite manufacturing facility for high quality composite structural items.
This division manufactures a range of structural components using the very latest aerospace technologies combined with highly skilled and experienced technicians, validated by a rigorous and innovative post-manufacture quality control.
These components include a range of structural and safety-critical items, starting from complete race car monocoques, as well as crash and impact structures, wing and suspension components
The facility utilises the latest CNC pre-preg cutting techniques, a state of the art clean room featuring the latest aerospace quality laser and video ply-positioning equipment, sophisticated autoclaves capable of curing any range of items manufactured in-house, plus an array of advanced production and inspection equipment to ensure the quality and repeatability of component performance.
Computational Fluid Dynamics
The company only uses ANSYS Fluent solvers for its analysis.
A number of advanced multi-processor workstations with up to 512 GB of RAM are used to create and manipulate complex models consisting of hundreds of millions of cells.
For 2011, the company has expanded its supercomputer capacity to an array of over 30 high performance 64-bit optically connected supercomputer clusters in order to rapidly solve these complex CFD hundred cases.
Wirth Research aims to understand commercial and technical design challenges with a philosophy that employs tried and tested methodologies in order to define the problem, scope the resultant project and develop the final engineering solutions. They actively review and manage the test methods selected from concept design, through to development, implementation, analysis and reporting.
Commercial considerations can encompass brand management, regulatory and competitive issues.