SBD/May 15, 2014/Facilities

Ford Racing's New Tech Center Touts Innovative Simulator Implementing Driver Data

Hendrick drivers
The "crown jewel" of Ford Racing's new 33,000-square-foot Technical Support Center in Concord, N.C., is a simulator that "embodies the next wave of NASCAR technology," according to Jeff Gluck of USA TODAY. Both the tech center and its "Driver In The Loop" style simulator were unveiled yesterday afternoon, and Dir of Ford Racing Jamie Allison said, "This is a critical and necessary investment because it's the way the sport is headed." Gluck notes all NASCAR teams "currently use simulation programs to help determine which setups to bring to the racetrack." But those programs "operate with a computer predicting the best line a driver would use to get around the track." Ford's simulator, "similar to the ones" used by F1 teams, will "provide data generated by the drivers themselves." The simulator is a "realistic driver cockpit on a full-motion platform -- it tilts, sways, moves forward and backward and goes over bumps -- surrounded by a wraparound screen illuminated by five projectors." Allison said that the simulator "won't be fully operational until the end of this year." He declined to say "how much the simulator cost, but predicted the technology would soon become commonplace in NASCAR" (USA TODAY, 5/15).
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