Have you ever wanted to become an aerodynamicist for a motorsport team? Well if the answer is a resounding yes, then an upcoming contest from Belgian simulation company AirShaper could be right up your street.

AirShaper – a software programme that allows you to simulate aerodynamic drag, down force and many other physics parameters – is teaming up with Dotto Creations to design a fully-fledged MotoGP specification prototype to the real-life premier class regulations with input from any budding aerodynamicists that would like to try their hand at it.

Dotto Creations – an Italian based 3D modelling agency – has created a 3D model of Ducati’s V4 Superleggera motorcycle, which will provide the base for the community-designed MotoGP machine that will be improved and developed through the AirShaper software. 

Motorsport Week took some time out to chat to AirShaper founder and CEO Wouter Remmerie to find out more about the fascinating project, as well as how taking part in the contest could well set the wheels in motion for anyone to make their dreams come true and find a job as an aerodynamicist or designer in the motorsport industry.

Remmerie explained that the AirShaper software will provide a detailed report regarding the different properties and characteristics of the Ducati V4, allowing contestants to sift through with a fine toothcomb in order to find ways of improving the machines aero efficiency, down force as well many more parameters – the Belgian going on to describe the background of the contest. 

“With the upcoming MotoGP challenge we teamed up with an agency (Dotto Creations, which is made up of people with roots based in the likes of Pininfarina, Italdesign as well as Volvo) that created the 3D model (of a Ducati Superleggera V4), so we could run simulations on it (and provide a starting point) and then we gave some information the (MotoGP) regulations,” said Remmerie.

Pressure clouds (shown in red) can be simulated in the software

“The goal is that anybody can access the simulation data and read through the report so that they can start number crunching themselves so that they can come up with new ideas to improve the aerodynamics based on a number of challenges we have listed.

“Some are theoretical challenges like calculate in (Microsoft) Excel how fast a bike can accelerate with and without down force, and then later send in sketches to our Reddit channel with potential improvements they feel could improve the aerodynamic properties of the 3D model, which we did with a recent challenge based on a Formula 1 car model.

“We’ve had people drop suggestions and ideas that for example take into account other designs from around the world in how to improve the aerodynamics, and now with the Ducati model we are going to do the same for MotoGP – which is the perfect time for it given the recent explosion in aerodynamic development within the series.”

Remmerie added that any improvements made by an individual would be shared and credited to the designer who made them through videos and documents shared on AirShaper’s rapidly-growing YouTube channel and web page, which could be a key tool in showing prospective race teams what anyone looking to get a job in the industry is capable of.

“It definitely can help as for example with our F1 project we had a couple of guys who went completely through the regulations and created 3D volumes as to where the wind should flow in order to have a legal rear wing,” continued Remmerie.

“They then completed the rear wing completely from scratch having made it totally legal by studying the rules and using their own 3D modelling software, and we ran the simulation on it and it was an improvement.

AirShaper previously held a contest upgrading the aerodynamics of an F1-style chassis

“We then credited them in the videos with their names, which helps a lot to get them exposure and allows them to say to prospective employers ‘this is what I can do’, so we’re hoping to be able to achieve the same kind of thing with the MotoGP challenge and help people begin an engineering career in MotoGP.”

Remmerie went on to explain the process that AirShaper – which is working with the likes of MV Agusta and Moto2 squad Forward Racing – takes when working to try and extract the maximum amount of gain in terms of the aerodynamics of a machine – revealing that they even go to as extreme lengths as tuning an aerodynamic package to modify the wake for following riders in order to unsettle them in battle. 

 “We worked with MV Agusta who went to the wind tunnel and they found a nice correlation with what they found,” said Remmerie.

“There are multiple areas that we look for when working with race teams, there’s down force and drag reduction as well as the cooling aspects because there is a massive amount of heat coming off the radiators and you need to achieve good cooling to not blow up your engine, but also to improve the comfort of the rider so they don’t overheat and suffer fatigue.

AirShaper currently works with the likes of MV Agusta and the Forward Racing Moto2 outfit to help develop the aero on their respective projects

“Another important aspect is the amount of air you leave behind because you want the bike chasing you to get the dirty air so that they lose down force and also get less of a drag benefit, because the broken air means the bike trailing doesn’t receive such a good slipstream.

“You can also tune the aero package to produce more wake for the following bike, which makes your helmet go all shaky at high speed and reduces the precision of your vision, so there’s a lot more than just the general drag reduction or down force that goes into aerodynamic development.”

If you have an interest in taking part in the challenge you can visit the Dotto Creations – AirShaper MotoGP Challenge web page where you will find the introduction that will explain how everything works and give a starting point to potentially beating Ducati at its own game in the premier class.

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