We've been exploring some new software developed to assist and inspire your car project, and after reviewing both the DynoSim (Apr. '04) and DragSim (May '04), the final part of the software racing trifecta will be reviewed this month.
ProSim's FastLap program does for road racing what the DragSim did for the dragstrip. By offering the user many accurately portrayed options, it's possible to build and test vehicles on some of the world's finest road courses. It's also possible to create a track of your own or to duplicate the layout of your favorite local circuit. This way, vehicle modifications can be tested and refined virtually. When it comes time to actually head out on the course, your Vette should be close to the optimal setup...or at least much closer than it would have been without the use of the FastLap program.
Beyond the practical applications, it's impossible to deny the "fun factor" involved with building dream machines (as you'll see, many popular domestic muscle cars come "pre-programmed" into the software) or even running a finished version of your own g-machine. Also, running a simulation of your Vette (or dream machine) on some of the world's finest courses is great fun.
Check out the many features of this new program, and if you've worked with virtual race programs before, you'll recognize the depth and quality of this one. If you've never played with a virtual race program before, the easily understood pull-down menus and rich post-test analysis data prompts both thought and serves to entertain. It's part game, part tool, and all cool. Check it out!
You start by choosing a track to run on. A good range of both domestic and foreign tracks are programmed in, and as we mentioned, a custom track-building option exists too. With enough research, it's possible to duplicate your local track or any course you'd like to test on. Most tracks have maps available with this type of information.
Like the other ProSim programs, this one involves plugging in specific vehicle information. A wide range of domestic vehicles is already in there, and if you cannot find a Vette with a similar configuration/weight to your own, you can choose to type in your own info. While you may not know some specifics (like drag coefficients or vehicle frontal area), you can get very close by looking at the existing pre-programmed information on other vehicles.
The GC calculator helps you find the gravity center (or center of gravity) under your ride to determine its handling characteristics. Based on the weight at each corner, the CG is found and accurate representation of weight shift through turns can be determined. If you've never "scaled" your car before, we again recommend looking at a similar vehicle from the pre-programmed cars in the software and using those dimensions.
There are also "wing" dimensions to input. If you've got spoilers, even small factory units, measure them out and input the data. If they're large enough, or if your car is fast enough to make a difference, you'll see it here.