Racing to pole position begins with efficient design and first-class support

Speed is the only thing that truly matters in motorsports.
Control and skill are of course needed, yet ultimately the fastest driver to
get from start to finish wins. But the need for speed – or more importantly and
perhaps more accurately, efficiency – isn’t confined to between the lines of a race
track. It begins on a computer screen. It’s during the breaks between races
when speed and efficiency counts, and when downtime is just as much anathema as
it is during a lap around the mountain.

Triple Eight Race Engineering – the powerhouse behind Red
Bull Racing Australia – knows a little something about maximising efficiency,
having won an astounding six of the past seven V8 Supercars Championships with
one Jamie Whincup behind the wheel. Through a sponsorship deal with Intercad –
Australia and New Zealand’s largest reseller of leading design software, SolidWorks
– the team has designed a car that secured both the Teams and the Drivers V8
Supercars titles in 2014.

According to David Cauchi, Race Engineer Car 1 for Triple
Eight Race Engineering, the team has been successful because of an emphasis of
finding efficiency in process wherever possible, and that has included between race
weekends.

“We need to maximise the time we have between races,” he
said. “If there’s a part on the car we need to improve, it needs to be re-designed
and updated quickly to allow us enough time to manufacture and get the updated
part on the car in time for the next race. Short design cycle times are
critical for us.

“We signed the initial deal with Intercad in early 2010 because
the sport was becoming more and more competitive and we needed to stay one step
ahead, and Intercad gave us the best chance to stay there. The support from
their team of engineers has been first class, and it was really a no-brainer to
work with them.”

Deploying a new software system can be daunting at the best
of times, especially in a fast-paced environment where downtime is not an
option – and where a delay can be the difference in a championship or missing
the podium. But Intercad made the transition seamless.

“Intercad’s team of engineers came in and undertook an audit
of what we needed, and got us off the ground through training sessions on all
aspects of the software,” said Cauchi. “They have unparalleled knowledge of the
product and they know how to get the best out of it – it’s a knowledge and
expertise that was unique when we were looking to shift to SolidWorks.”

That expertise was critical when it became apparent that
SolidWorks could be tailored to suit Triple Eight’s high demands.

“One of the things that attracted us to SolidWorks is the ability
to customise the software with additional functions, and the audit from
Intercad helped us tailor the package to exactly what we required. In addition,
we needed to get up-to-speed on the software quickly. Intercad’s engineers fast
tracked that learning curve through the sharing of their expertise.”

SolidWorks alone shifted efficiency of the design process up
a gear, according to Cauchi. Apart from being simply more user-friendly than
other products, the tailored software package included an upgraded data
management system and simulation software which enabled them to test aspects of
the design in a virtual environment.

In a sport where success is measured in milliseconds, the
demand for efficiency translates to every part of the preparation process. If,
say, a fault is identified in a part which compromises the reliability and
speed of the car, a replacement part needs to be designed, manufactured and
installed between races – which in most cases is less than a week. Delays,
therefore, can lead to a loss which can impact the success of the team over the
span of a season.

Following the audit, Intercad was able to analyse the
findings and make recommendations on what Triple Eight needed to get the most
out of the software. Intercad then set about installing the additional functionalities
to the SolidWorks program, which – as they determined would happen thanks to
the audit – significantly shortened the turnaround time needed for the design
and manufacture of any necessary parts.

“We scoped out what the best software options were; we
definitely did our homework,” said Cauchi. “We needed a CAD [computer-aided
design] software program that was tailored to what we do and wasn’t too
restrictive. SolidWorks came out on top in every facet, and from there we
sought out Intercad as they best explained the capabilities and what we needed.
We couldn’t afford any downtime. Intercad trained us up completely and had us
immediately starting to push the boundaries of SolidWorks.

“The data management software (ePDM) allowed us to track
design revisions quickly and easily, and the simulation software allowed us to
test any design in a virtual environment, and modify it on the fly. SolidWorks took
the design process to a higher level than any other option out there and gave
us the best chance to win.”

The relationship has been so successful that, in February
this year, Triple Eight and Intercad signed a three-year extension to the
sponsorship deal.

“In my experience, changing CAD software can be an
exhaustive process, but with Intercad, shifting to SolidWorks has been the
easiest move I have been involved with, and we haven’t looked back,” said
Cauchi. “Their complete knowledge of the software, their constant support and
unrivalled expertise made the move seamless.”