As we reported a couple of days ago, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is one of the oval tracks coming to Project CARS 2, not only in its current but in its historic form as well! Together with the iconic track, a set of modern and historic IndyCars is being added as well. In its latest blog, Slightly Mad Studios elaborates on the process of creating the modern American formula racing legends, including an interview with Kenny Krajnik, Assistant Race Engineer for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Where did they get the data from?
If you do not know real-world data of a car it is quite hard to simulate it in a virtual world, not impossible as we know but quite difficult. Therefore, Slightly Mad Studios partnered up with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports, who were able to provide the English game developer with some great insights.
For example, Slightly Mad Studios was given a pit-side seat at the 100th Indy 500 in 2016 and access to basically all the data that Schmidt Peterson Motorsports could provide. This includes “tyre wear, tyre pressures, boost, engine mapping, and even the gear-ratio used by the team”. By the way, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports was the pole position team of the 2016 Indy 500.
Fun fact, Slightly Mad Studios attention to detail even goes as far as including the 66 Indy 500 winners on the new Firestone tyre, which was introduced at the Indy 500 2016.
Honda, Chevrolet, what’s the difference?
As you may know, one of the key-elements of the IndyCar series are the equal opportunities for every team. Because unlike for example in Formula 1, every team runs the same Dallara DW 12 chassis (a.k.a. IR 12). However, there is some room to set oneself apart: Firstly, there are small things like “damping, corner springs, third springs and so on” that teams can tweak on their own, but most importantly, both engine manufacturers, Chevrolet and Honda, use different aero’ kits.
Road-course spec, speedway spec, I am confused…
Both kits, i.e. both manufacturers, will be included in Project CARS 2 in Road Course and Speedway spec. These two specs are necessary since the IndyCar series runs on ovals and road-courses. Both track types pose very different requirements to the cars and that is why two different specs are needed.
The main difference between the two is the downforce they can produce. Since top speed is less of a concern on road-courses, the road-course spec can produce “5500lbs (2267KGs) [of] downforce at 200 mph (320kmh)”. The speedway spec however, can reach a top speed of 240 mph, whilst only producing about half the downforce.
Slightly Mad Studios also manged to fit in an interview with Kenny Krajnik, Assistant Race Engineer for Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.
Kenny gave some really on interesting insights on the goings-on of an IndyCar team.
For example, when being asked why some teams are faster than others with the same cars, he responded that simulation testing is one of the “largest” factors. With bigger teams come bigger budgets and these can be used towards more in-depth testing, so that the teams turn up “more prepared” than others.
He also emphasised the significance of racing games:
You know, the funny thing is, a lot of people might think that a game is just a way to have fun and isn’t really representative of a real car. But really, what’s going on in the background is very much the same as the simulation tools that we use. The game needs to generate a representation of the physical model of the car, and we need to do the same in our simulation models. So really, what’s going on with all the math and the coding in the background is very similar.
Kenny also continued to explain that although simulation is already very advanced, it only gives an idea of what could be applied to setups on the real track. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports does not have “enough confidence” just yet to carry over changes from the virtual world to the real world right away. Reasons being “50 percent danger and 50 percent the nuances of the speedway”, e.g. “ambient conditions”.
Schmidt Peterson Motorsport has been working with Slightly Mad Studios since 2015 and is, of course, very happy with the results that could be achieved through feedbacks from drivers as well as engineers.
If you want to read the full interview, you can head right here.