A remote-controlled DTM demonstration car completed a lap of the Red Bull Ring last weekend in what is believed to be a world-first for contemporary race cars on an FIA homologated circuit.
The so-called ‘DTM Electric Demo Car’ was remotely operated by a simulator at the base of technology company, AVL, 82-miles away in Graz.
Tim Heinemann, last year’s DTM Trophy champion, worked from the simulator to steer the DTM Electric Demo Car, prepared by industry giant Schaeffler. He used the AVL VSM™ RACE software, which represents the real race car in a virtual model.
Heinemann received feedback on parameters such as “the handling and stability of the vehicle – without being at the wheel himself or even in the cockpit,” according to AVL.
“For AVL RACING, motorsport has been the platform for innovations and state-of-the-art technologies for more than 20 years,” said AVL’s Director of Motorsport, Ellen Lohr.
Lohr (pictured above), who won a DTM race for Mercedes in 1992, added that “the know-how we generate through our involvement in various racing series around the world, is transferred to the development of production vehicles for future generations of mobility.
“The DTM race weekend at the Red Bull Ring was the perfect opportunity to present the AVL Driving Simulator and the technologies integrated into to a motorsport enthusiastic audience. At the same time, we were able to show that our technologies are already defining the mobility concepts of tomorrow.”
In Graz, the project was implemented by Franz Reisenhofer and Ull Thaler, Simulation and Software Engineers at AVL Racing.
“This project is very special because we had our driving simulator in use in a completely new application,” said Reisenhofer.
“The difficulty was to give the driver in the simulator the feeling of the real vehicle by means of steering, pedals, as well as image and sound, in order to move the DTM Electric Demo Car at full race speed around the Red Bull Ring.”
AVL technology is currently being used to inform DTM’s “balance of performance” where the AVL VSM RACE driving dynamics software, which is developed in-house, works in simulation with purely virtual vehicle models as well as virtual drivers.
The AVL Driving Simulator and the integrated simulation software AVL VSM RACE are primarily used in the racing sector for race driver training and the optimization of vehicle tuning.
Simulators and AVL software are also used in the development of production vehicles – for example in the form of virtual vehicle dynamics tests, ADAS development and system integration projects. In addition, AVL RACING assembles customized simulators and software for its customers and takes care of setup and commissioning.