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Composite Design Software Helps Courage Keep its Nose in Front

29 April 2005

Courage Competition used Pam-Crash software to model the crash-worthiness of the composite nose of its new C60 racing car and reduced the weight of the component by a factor of four.

Pam-Crash, the dedicated software simulation tool developed by ESI Group was used by Courage Competition of France to computer-test the crash-worthiness of the composite nose of its new C60 racing car and reduce the weight of the component by a factor of four.

For over 20 years, Courage Competition'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 (based in Sarthe, Western France), set the goal of designing 100% of the vehicle content, except for the engine.

Pam-Crash allowed Courage Competition 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. The need for simulation software is becoming increasingly popular as racing manufacturers attempt to meet new, more stringent frontal crash test regulations.

Yves Courage said that “In order to get the best results in races, we have to optimise the few percents that will make the difference on the track, 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. Courage Competition then went onto analyse other components of the car - and in particular the Carbone-Nida-Carbone sandwich floorboard - with Sysply, ESI Group's software solution for design optimisation 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 optimisation 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 analysed 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 Competition is relying heavily on simulation software to meet the ever changing technical regulations in motor sports. Courage Competition 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.






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