Within a week of the first race of Gen-6 NASCAR Spring Cup Series cars, iRacing released the Chevy SS and Ford Fusion. In fact, within 2 weeks, Jason Karlavige had claimed the first victory for the virtual Chevy SS at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The virtual models were developed on the fly, to the point that, says iRacing artist Brian Simpson ‘”NASCAR and the teams tried to be helpful, but on numerous occasions they told us ‘Sure, you can see this (part), but by next week it’ll be changed.”
“We spent a lot of time watching practice at Daytona,” Simpson recalls. “The cars at the track were running a different rear end (aero treatment) for restrictor plate races than we had been given data for . . . and we just about fell out of our chairs. We had no idea they were going to do that, so it had us scrambling. Let’s say we spent a lot of time poring over the DVRs of practice!”
Likewise, iRacing vehicle dynamicist Eric Hudec – a former race engineer for Petty Racing – was developing the physics of the virtual Gen-6 car in real time.
“There weren’t a lot of details on the Gen-6 car’s physics available,” he says. “So I talked with my friends on some of the teams and with Kevin Bayless (GM Racing oval track chassis/aero program manager), especially with regard to the aerodynamics. We did some guessing and then as teams began testing, we collected information in real time and made the car incrementally better with each step.”
“Getting the Gen-6 fixed setup ready for Bristol, I saw we were banging on the rev limiter chip,” Hudec says. “I called my friends at Penske to check that we were using the right gear ratios and to see if they’d seen same thing on their data simulations. When they said no, I chalked it up to our car having a little too much tire grip. But then the teams got to Bristol and guess what? In practice, they were all over the rev limiter.”
Check out the Chevy SS and Ford Fusion in action below:
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