Supercomputer gives Renault an edge

Renault’s state of the art technology centre, which will be up and running later in the year, will benefit from a five-fold increase in computing capacity the team announced today. The expansion will place Renault at the forefront of technology-driven research in F1.

A high performance super-computer, due to be installed at Renault’s new Computation Fluid Dynamics (CFD) research facility in June, will provide the team with a massive expansion in computing power and enable engineers to carry out full-car simulations as well as aerodynamic testing without the need for a wind-tunnel.

Renault’s computing systems partner Appro said that the new CFD facility, which uses computer modelling to test, simulate and develop components, will be vastly more efficient than a physical wind-tunnel as a result of their Supercomputer, the Appro Xtrme-X2.

“At current conservative development rates, the expanded facility will provide 50% of the gains of a fully-efficient mature wind-tunnel for less than 50% of the investment,” Appro said today.

Renault’s technical director Bob Bell said he was “looking forward” to the installation the Supercomputer.

Bell is adamant that CFD technology is the future of design and development in F1.

“While other teams have invested in costly second wind tunnels, we believe that CFD is a technology of the future that will be integral to the design and development of more efficient vehicles,” he said last year.

Aerodynamic efficiency in 2008 will be essential given the ban on electronic devices as well as the freeze on engine development and the introduction of life-long gearboxes. With the possibility of cost-cutting measures and budget caps just around the corner teams will be investing heavily in this type of research in the future.

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