The evolution of motorsport racing is wildly exciting. Audiences crave closer wheel-to-wheel action, more aggressive takeover maneuvers, and relentless visceral experiences.
Unico, a leader in high-performance drive systems for testing race vehicle powertrains, has helped integration partners and race teams deliver those visceral experiences to audiences.
Proven Test Solutions for Motorsport Applications
Each racecar component is critical to being competitive on the track. Unico has developed drive systems to test some of the most essential components responsible for winning a race, including engines, electric race motors, transmissions, g-force simulation rigs, MGU motors, and tires.
The glorious race engines that push new frontiers in motorsports and blister eardrums on the front straights result from race engineers mercilessly running race profiles with sophisticated dynamometer testing rigs from Unico.
Over the years of evolving powertrains, Unico has provided drive systems for dynamometer race engine testing applications.
As racing powertrains evolve to fully electric, Unico’s drive systems continue to offer cutting-edge technology for dynamometer testing ultra-high-speed racing electric motors that can reach 30,000 rpm.
Achieving peak performance with a highly efficient Unico drive system is possible with a regenerative/active front end. Systems ratings can achieve 5MW, 30,000 Nm, and 120,000 rpm with air-cooled or water-cooled enclosures.
A Unified approach to Transmission Analysis
Testing race-worthy transmissions that transfer the incredible engine power to the axles might require a 2-wheel drive or 4-wheel drive testing rig. But what is not needed is the expensive race engine when using a Unico drive system that acts as a race engine simulator.
Unico is the world leader in Torque Pulse Simulation technology. Unico’s engine simulator locks the torque pulsations to shaft position in order to closely replicate the operation of the internal combustion race engine.
Mapping detailed data creates a very complex and accurate simulation. This torque profile can be modified dynamically to reflect changes that occur with engine speed and throttle position (torque). The engine modelling can be derived by entering the race engine’s parameters into the drive system. You can combine the Unico engine simulator with Unico dynamometers for a complete transmission and axle testing rig.
Extreme programming meets systematic testing with Unico Drive Systems
The extreme g-forces that drivers and race car components endure are only matched by fighter jet pilots. Unico has provided multi-axis drive systems for testing rigs that precisely twist and tilt race car powertrain components, such as an engine and transmission, to replicate the g-forces of the race car as it swerves through corners of a twisty racetrack at high speed. Race engineers can use this information to see how g-forces affect coolants and lubrication.
Motor generating units (MGU) are an important aspect of racing as electric, and hybrid racing becomes more mainstream. The MGUs can lead to thrilling overtakes on the tightest corners and assist with stopping and cooling.
Unico has provided drives systems for testing race applications of motor generating units. The Unico drives emulate or simulate energy to the MGU to create a realistic test on the MGU components and replicate race day performance. Race engineers can use this information for quality testing MGU components purchased elsewhere or for in-house MGU development and testing.
A Future Path
A growing abundance of fully-electric racing programs has created a broad landscape of different requirements for electric powertrain development, including racing spec batteries, inverters, and electric motors.
Unico has provided battery emulator/simulator drive systems to develop racing spec inverters and electric motors. The Unico system comes standard with programmable voltage and current controls for resistance simulation, so race engineers can quickly test and view results for hundreds of different battery designs on powertrain performance.
With the programmable slew rate, engineers can precisely regulate the response to a change in both the requested output and changes in the load. And with full filtered output, systems can be designed with minimal current and voltage ripple – typical ripple is less than 1%.
Unico’s battery cycler is ideal for testing race batteries to replicate race track profiles of charging, discharging, periods of high current draw and recharge, energy regeneration, and battery degradation. Engineers can program simulated load resistance and upload custom testing profiles.
The drive system uses Silicon IGBTs to produce high slew rates, so there is no overshoot and zero-crossing delay. (Unico’s Silicon Carbide MOSFET drive systems are launching soon.) Unico’s common DC bus architecture allows for an add-on dynamometer controls sections and allows for a highly efficient, fully regenerative current source and sink capability.
Outperform the Competition
Tire selection is a critical part of race day strategy. Behind that strategy are the tire manufacturers dedicated to producing tires that keep drivers safe, increase confidence, and outperform the competition.
Unico has provided high-performance drive systems for tire testing rigs, comprised of drives that control the conveyor that simulates the roadway and drives that control the motor that spins the tire/wheel.
This combination of multi-axis drive systems with motor speeds up to 120,000 rpm, ultra-quiet operation for NVH testing, and experience working with integration partners has helped Unico be part of world-class tire development.
Unico has been developing application-specific solutions since 1967. Unico’s drive systems and design philosophy offers racing teams and racing integration partners the benefits of high performance, low risk, flexibility, scalability, short development cycles, and defined project timelines.
Speak with a Unico racing expert for motorsport testing solutions today.