Drive a car not originally built for racing around an oval track at 200 mph for a couple hours and you begin to understand why stock car drivers want the greatest and latest information on how their car will handle in close traffic on a banked curve. Traditionally engineers in NASCAR relied on wind-tunnel and track testing. But in recent years, NASCAR began looking for an alternative.
In 2012 NASCAR turned to TotalSim USA, an engineering services provider, to help teams and drivers leverage the valuable information computational fluid dynamics (CFD) can offer. TotalSim worked with Eric Jacuzzi, aerodynamics and vehicle performance engineer at the R&D Center for NASCAR, to teach him the necessary software tools and Ohio Supercomputer Center usage.
This knowledge allows Jacuzzi and his team to study computational fluid dynamics to better understand the aerodynamic behavior of the cars – how they handle drag, downforce, and sideforce – at high speeds in traffic and on different tracks, each with their own nuances. This scientific analysis helps Jacuzzi and NASCAR develop the best races for fans, drivers, and the series as a whole.