New McLaren simulator is "quite a thing" says Key


As McLaren continues to put the 'bad old days' behind it, claiming forth in the standings in its second season with Renault and looking ahead to its (re)partnership with Mercedes in 2021, the Woking team is leaving little to chance.

Other than a new windtunnel, the 8-time constructors' champions are building a new simulator, leaps and bounds ahead of its predecessor.

"We've got a new driver-in-the-loop simulator," technical director, James Key told members of the media. "It's a massive departure to what we've been using.

"It's a project that McLaren pioneered a long time ago," he continued, "but it's also been recognised now that that the world has moved on, and that's sort of a big project within the team. I'm hoping that will come on by next year."

"It is completely new. It's quite a thing actually," he smiled. "To sort of pay tribute to the current simulator, which is obviously heavily based on what came out years ago, it's still a very, very useful tool and doing its job. It's been extremely effective for a long time.

"But the technology has moved on, I think the understanding of the limitations of the first and maybe even the second generation of simulators are better understood by most teams now.

"As a result, the third generations are really quite different animals, the technology that goes into them is very new and very different. So it's a completely fresh start."

Asked specifically about the improvements over its predecessor, Key said: "A better representation of the car model, quicker processing. So you can add more dimensions.

"The thing with the car is it's multidimensional, an aero map," he continued. "There used to be a set of curves and it was a surface, now it's loads of surfaces that all somehow interact.

"The same with tyres. Same with, you know, certain aspects of the engine, and it's certainly the same aspects of suspension as well.

"And the more processing power you get, the more you're able to combine those effects and better replicate what the car does. So, as that's increased over the years, you just have to put more maths into it and get a more representative model out.

"Combined with that, I think all teams better understand what a driver really needs to feel to replicate the car because you can't generate sustained g-levels. You've got to give better indications of what the car is doing.

"I think previous simulators were very strong in some cases and weak in others," her admitted. "So we're addressing those weaknesses and making it better. So, ultimately, it is to give a globally better representation of the car."

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Published: 12/12/2019
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