Some students in the program will spend time at the DSR facility in Brownsburg, and some will be at the school where they develop computer models that allow them to see what will be the most effective route to go before building the chassis. He said that for the Top Fuel dragster, they created 125 computer models before settling on the best one to build.
“That’s the real advantage, the ability to look at it on the computer in a whole manner of alliterations,” Hylton said. “The last time we did this when we worked on the Top Fuel chassis, the two students who had primary responsibility for that were at the shop. We start by modeling it as it is today and then run tests. There was quite a bit of interface between the fabrication shops, the crew chiefs, and the students.”
Wolf said DSR is excited about the possibilities.
“For one thing, if you can make engine components last longer, you’re much less likely to have an engine malfunction which can lead to an explosion and can be a fire, and the greater reliability of parts means they’ll last longer and you’ll have fewer major engine incidents,” he said. “Whenever we look to improve or build a better chassis, the main component is safety, making it stronger to better protect the driver. But the perfect marriage to that is to not add weight to the chassis.”
Wolf said that if they do find an innovation that causes a little more weight to the car but will inherently make it safer, they go the route of safety first.
Hylton said working on this project is one of the benefits that students in the motorsports engineering program can expect.
“In motorsports, networking is very important,” he said. “Not to say it’s not important in other industries, but it might be more important in motorsports to develop connections with teams, sanctioning bodies on the track, and even the sponsors. It allows our students to operate in a very professional environment and alongside the premier people in the sport. It has ancillary benefits even for the students that don’t spend a lot of time at DSR because a lot of things will involve DSR issues they’re looking at.”