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TKART magazine Once in a lifetime | Try a “real” simulator... driving a kart
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29 January 2016
Going to a super-technological centre that you almost didn’t know existed and trying a real professional simulator worth a million Euros. Just like the F1 drivers.
It all started with planes: how can you learn to fly a 70 metre long Boeing 747? By using a simulator! A box (the size of a container) moved by hydraulic actuators that gives pilots a clear cinema view of the route through the sky, reproduced by a computer, of course. Then the important car manufacturers came on the scene, and naturally, the Formula 1 team, especially since the number of test days were drastically reduced in 2009. Then, a few years ago, karting simulator designers and manufacturers also arrived on the scene. Do you really not want to try it?
The “drivers” of the project are the Formula K team (when it still wasn’t in the hands of the IPK) and in particular Anton Stipinovich, a South African engineer who has worked in F1 with McLaren, Ferrari and Red Bull. “I come from the world of electronics - he told us - and in 2000 I moved to Ferrari in the period in which the use of electronics in Formula 1 has become important.
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The movements of the kart in the simulator: the roll (movement of the vehicle along the longitudinal axis)
They were tested every day to enhance the effectiveness of systems such as launch control and traction control. I was fortunate to work with Andrea (Bertolini, one of the owners of Formula K – editor’s note), who performed hundreds of tests for the configuration of those systems. Formula 1 no longer has electronics so I changed course and founded All in Sports, which is in involved in driving simulators for Formula cars”.
Karts, however, were a completely new challenge, in which you can use all the know-how and technologies in the simulation field. “It has to be considered that a simulator is not a video game, but an incredible tool for the development of a car. Only by using a simulator is it possible to check all the parameters in every testing phase and, above all, with constant track, tyres, petrol and temperature values. This is the real advantage: it is possible to try making even small variances of a single parameter. This is impossible on a track!”.
In practical terms, a kart is mounted on a mobile platform mounted on six actuators with a reaction capacity of 500 degrees per second (unit of measurement indicating the frequency): “In fact - says engineer Stipinovich - the movement of a vehicle or kart have accelerations of 300/350 degrees per second; the Yaw movements (rotation around the vertical axis: the yaw angle - editor’s note), which are the fastest movements, have accelerations of about 500 degrees per second”.
The position of the kart in front of the projection of the Sarno track. On the left, the monitors that collect data
They allow six degrees of control, faithfully reproducing any movement of a kart on a track
A potentiometer measures the position of the accelerator and, therefore, the opening of the carburettor valve
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