PTC , the Product Development Company, has announced that Tokai University, which will be competing in the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race, has developed its competition vehicle with Pro/ENGINEER, PTC’s 3D CAD/CAM/CAE software.
The Tokai University Team was formally approved for participation in the race and began vehicle design in 2001 and produced a study car in 2005. The final competition vehicle was developed by repeated improvement based on the driving data obtained from the study car.
Le Mans, held near the town of Le Mans, France, is a 24 hour endurance race that is run on closed public roads.
The race was originally established in 1923 and is part of the Triple Crown of Motor sports which includes the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. Le Mans is unique to other Grand Prix racing because it places a higher priority on vehicle reliability and fuel efficiency given the nature of the course and length of the race.
These requirements, plus the focus on aerodynamics drove the Tokai University team’s decision to use Pro/ENGINEER as the MCAD software for the race car’s design.
Professor Yoshimasa Hayashi from the Tokai University Research Institute of Science and Technology is the leader of the Le Mans project.
Speaking on the importance of Pro/ENGINEER to the vehicle’s design, Professor Hayashi said, "Pro/ENGINEER is a very straightforward tool and it enables an engineer to freely design to their heart’s content. It is easy-to-use because the principles in the product are similar to the way that an engineer thinks. Additionally, the product includes all the main capabilities that we required like simulation and analysis.”
An automobile engine is a concentration of basic engineering knowledge such as material mechanics, thermodynamics, applied mechanics and fluid mechanics. The fact that the students designed the comprehensive system is a great educational achievement itself.
Adding to this feat, the students increased the project’s success by also designing the rest of the competition vehicle. The value of these achievements was one of the reasons why Tokai University Team was formally approved for participation in the race among many other entries from all over the world.
As part of their education, Professor Hayashi also stresses to his students that the world of product development can be extremely unsympathetic and if expected results are not achieved failure can result.
“I hope my students will learn through this real-life exercise what it means to put their whole soul into product development. I am extremely proud of what they have already accomplished by developing a competition vehicle for Le Mans, and I have to admit that they could not have gone this far without Pro/ENGINEER," concluded Professor Hayashi.
"Pro/ENGINEER provides leading capabilities for design optimisation such as PTC’s Behavioural Modelling technology. This captures multiple requirements as parameters to automatically create most suitable design as well as a suite of modules focused on styling, design simulation and machining,” said Michael Campbell, Senior Vice President, Product Management, PTC.
“In particular, Pro/ENGINEER has a proven track record for power train design. The Tokai University Team's achievement in the development of the racing car for Le Mans illustrates the effectiveness of Pro/ENGINEER in automobile development. Also, the fact that the students could build such car proves that Pro/ENGINEER is both user-friendly and intuitive."
This year's Le Mans 24-hour Endurance Race is to be held in Sarthe Circuit as in previous years on June 11 and 12 for elimination rounds and on 14 and 15 for finals. The Tokai University Team conducted the final test run in Japan and overseas in May for final conditioning.