OptimumLap is a FREE, simplified, vehicle simulation tool designed to estimate a vehicle’s performance within 10% of reality.
With OptimumLap we set out to simplify vehicle dynamic simulation to the point where anyone can get reasonably accurate and very useful results within minutes. By reducing the vehicle to its most fundamental components, a vehicle can be defined with only 10 parameters. Each parameter represents a specific aspect of the car (such as engine, tires and suspension, or aerodynamics). This makes it easy to identify the effect that each parameter/sub-system will have on the vehicle’s performance – something we believe helps you better understand what to focus your time and resources on.
Creating a vehicle in OptimumLap is a very straightforward process. With the small number of required inputs and the low complexity of the inputs, virtually any land vehicle can be built in minutes. The values for all inputs are easy to measure or readily available from online resources. Once a vehicle has been defined, OptimumLap offers a range of graphs that will help you understand the vehicle’s performance characteristics and validate it to measured numbers. The OptimumLap Car Database offers a wide range of vehicles available for download that can be used as templates for new vehicles or for comparison studies.
Tracks in OptimumLap can be created from logged data using the OptimumLap Track Maker, and tracks from all over the world can be accessed from the OptimumLap Track Database.
The vehicle model used in OptimumLap is a point mass, quasi-steady state model. Mathematically, this is overly simplistic, but, in reality, this model is very powerful at analyzing the global performance trends of a vehicle without having to capture or model more detailed effects. The advantage of this is that a vehicle can be characterized by very few inputs, requiring very little time to setup and conduct a simulation.
Great care has been taken while simplifying the vehicle model to ensure that accuracy of the results has not been compromised. Even though the model is a point-mass model, meaning that no weight transfer or transient effects are taken into account, the simulated results still correlate well with logged data. Validations have shown that apex speeds, end of straight speeds, energy consumption, and total lap time all match reality within 10% (often within 5%), confirming that OptimumLap is a tool well suited to study the global trends and the impact of each vehicle subsystem.
OptimumLap is using a point-mass to model the vehicle and how fast it can move along a path. Validation of the model against logged track data have shown that despite the simple model the results are quite accurate.
Like any simulation, OptimumLap will generate large amounts of data. To help users quickly understand the data, OptimumLap has powerful built-in analysis tools. The graphing tools enable easy comparison of vehicles and tracks on a global scale and also, can be used to highlight subtle features in the data. The interactive graphing makes it quick and easy to investigate relationships and identify trends among the 60 output channels. All data from OptimumLap can be exported for use in other analysis tools such as Excel and MATLAB.
We have built OptimumLap to encourage the use of simulation results (engineering data) to make engineering decisions. With the built-in tools you are able to study effects of engine power, gearbox characteristics, aerodynamics, tires and suspension, and mass. The results will help you define the specifications for the detailed design of different sub-systems. For example: Do you need more longitudinal or lateral grip? How much drag can wings add before they start to negatively affect performance? Which final drive ratio minimizes the number of gear shifts? What is more important, reducing weight or increasing power?
The Need for OptimumLap
In engineering projects in general, a common goal is improving performance. In most cases, improved performance can be achieved in many different ways. We’ll then face the question – What’s is the best and most efficient way to improve performance?
In the past, time and resource constraints can make it difficult to explore all different options. However, with modern computers, we are able to model and predict the behavior of different systems – for example a vehicle. Simulation is a great method to explore different design solutions without having to build a single physical part. Analyzing simulation results gives us a better understanding of how our car reacts to parameter changes. Another benefit is that with simulation results, we can make decisions based on data (rather than gut feelings).
Example Use Cases Of OptimumLap
We have built OptimumLap to encourage you and your team, to use simulation results (engineering data) to make engineering decisions. With the built-in tools you are able to study effects of engine power, gearbox characteristics, aerodynamics, tires and mass. The results will help you define the specifications for the detailed design of different sub-systems. For example: Do you need more longitudinal or lateral grip? How much drag can you wings add before they start to negatively affect performance? Which final drive ratio minimizes the number of gear shifts? How much energy do my batteries in my electric vehicle have to be able to store to complete a race?
These are just some examples of how OptimumLap can be used and we are excited to see what types of analyses you will come up with! We are making OptimumLap available free of charge, to allow anyone the benefit from vehicle simulation.