ESI Group gives Courage Compétition Le Mans 24 hours lead

From: FTPB
Published: Fri Apr 29 2005

Thanks to PAM-CRASH, the dedicated software simulation tool developed by ESI Group, Courage Compétition of France was able to computer-test the crashworthiness of the composite nose of the new C60 racing car and reduce the weight of the component by a factor of four.

For over 20 years, Courage Compétition’s prototypes have been successfully competing against those of global OEMs in LMP1 and LMP2 races. Yves Courage, founder of the Le Mans-based manufacturer (in Sarthe, in Western France), set the goal of designing 100% of the vehicle content, except for the engine. Software simulation tools are an integral part of the development process, allowing the manufacturer to reduce lead-times and development costs and design better performing racing cars.

PAM-CRASH allowed Courage Compétition to study the behaviour of the nose of the new C60 car, which will compete in the next 24 Hours motor racing event at Le Mans. This analysis was extremely complex, since this component is made out of composite materials which, unlike metallic materials that deform under impact, are liable to explode in multiple tiny pieces. PAM-CRASH made it possible to meet the new, more stringent frontal crash test regulations, while reducing the weight of the component by a factor of four.

"In order to get the best results in races, we have to optimize the few percents that will make the difference on the track," says Yves Courage. "This is why we entered into technical partnerships with our software suppliers. As such, ESI Group developed, with PAM-CRASH, a new model for crashes of composite materials, which required the writing and validating of new algorithms."

Simulation results were within 3% of the actual physical test results. Following this first experience, Courage Compétition analyzed other components of the car — and in particular the Carbone-Nida-Carbone sandwich floorboard — with SYSPLY, ESI Group’s software solution for design optimization of composite structures. SYSPLY highlighted high stress areas as well as areas that were too thick for the low level of loading that they were undergoing.

The optimization of the thickness distribution, so that stress levels were uniform in the floorboard, yielded a component 25% lighter and 40% stiffer. Every single composite component of the new C60 was analyzed in similar fashion, yielding a 15% weight reduction, even though load and stress requirements under the new regulations applying to car racing had been raised, thus being made more stringent still.

Courage Compétition is relying heavily on simulation software to meet the ever changing technical regulations in motor sports. It would be impossible for the car-racing specialist to physically test multiple prototypes because of the cost and time involved. Thanks to its close relationship with ESI Group, Courage Compétition was the first manufacturer to run a car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2004 that met the specifications of the new regulations, when manufacturers had until 2007 to meet the new regulations. This competitive advantage will allow Yves Courage to start designing his new C70 and C75 racing cars with complete peace of mind for 2006.

About Courage Compétition

Yves Courage – though an independent manufacturer – has become, over 20 years, an established name in the world of endurance motor racing, competing with the greatest international automobile marques.

The team has already achieved great results: second overall in the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1995, third overall in 1987, and fourth overall twice in this mythical race. The year 2004 was marked by changes in the team’s history with the development of the C65 to compete in LMP2 races. This development has already been crowned with success, as the team has achieved three victories in three races, and has become LMES champion in this category.

Many European and American teams have thus decided to race a Courage C65: with 15 chassis already manufactured, Yves Courage will be the Number One manufacturer in 2005 for the number of prototypes competing. The team will also return in the lead-category with its C60-H: it will participate both in LMES races and in the Le Mans 24 Hours to fulfil its lifelong dream — to be victorious at Le Mans.

About ESI Group

ESI Group is a pioneer and world-leading provider of digital simulation software for prototyping and manufacturing processes that take into account the physics of materials. ESI Group has developed an entire suite of coherent, industry-oriented applications to realistically simulate a product’s behaviour during testing, to fine-tune the manufacturing processes in accordance with the desired product performance, and to evaluate the environment’s impact on product usage.

ESI Group’s products, which have a proven track-record in manufacturing and have been combined in multi-trade value chains, represent a unique collaborative, virtual engineering solution, known as the Virtual Try-Out Space (VTOS), enabling virtual prototypes to be improved in a continuous manner. By drastically reducing costs and development lead-times, VTOS solutions offer major competitive advantages by progressively eliminating the need for physical prototypes.

ESI Group is listed on the Nouveau Marché of Euronext Paris, and generated sales of €60 million in 2004. The company employs almost 500 high-level specialists worldwide, and is present in over 30 countries.

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Virtual Try-Out Space ® and VTOS ® are registered trademarks of ESI Group. All other products, names and companies mentioned in this press release are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
Company: FTPB
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