Honda Racing Corporation USA Unveils Latest Generation Driver in the Loop Simulator

  • HRC US simulator features latest modeling methods, motion technology
  • Simulator was utilized by Honda drivers racing in this year's Indianapolis 500
  • Has the capability to be used for multiple racing cars and series

Honda Racing Corporation USA has unveiled its next generation Driver in the Loop racing simulator at the company's Indianapolis operations center, featuring the latest technology in racing simulation.

The new DIL simulator features multi-body vehicle dynamics physics simulation software, capable of generating up to 1.5MB of data each second, with approximately 2,000 available channels. The simulator also features multiple cameras recording each session, synchronized to match with the logged data.

The new DIL simulator is a major step forward from HRC's original simulator, which first went into operation in 2013 and had received several significant upgrades through its service life.

"The new simulator is superior in every way to our original DIL simulator," Ben Schmitt, head of the Vehicle Performance Group at HRC US. "The vehicle physics models have continued to evolve from the original simulator, including the tire models, and our data acquisition capabilities are exponentially higher than previously. The new motion platform, cockpit and vision systems create a vehicle dynamics experience for the drivers that is our closest recreation yet of real-world conditions."

A DIL Simulator can save racing teams both time and money, as extensive test programs can be run through it, with the team's driver at the wheel and engineers monitoring lap times, prior to going to the expense and time-consuming process of actual on-track testing. Because setup changes can be done quickly, the DIL Simulator allows teams to run through many more chassis geometry and track condition changes than you could perform with at an actual on-track test.

One of several Honda Indy car drivers to use the new simulator in preparation for this year's Indianapolis 500, two-time "500" winner Takuma Sato was highly enthusiastic following his session.

"This simulator uses a completely new philosophy. The movement inside the car is much more immediate, the feeling the driver has is much more accurate. It feels a lot more realistic than anything I've experienced before. It's a huge improvement," Sato said. "We're constantly looking for more correlation between the digital world and the real world. That is always a challenge. However, today the simulator model is very sophisticated, and now very close to the 'real world' – even in yaw, which was never possible before. You can feel what's happening in the car more precisely, more accurately, than ever. It's very impressive."

Utilizing a modified Indy car cockpit, the HRC DIL Simulator can rotate a full 360-degrees in yaw, with the driver having a 270-degree view from a screen 2.5-meters high and nine meters in diameter to project the on-track images. The simulator can be set up to replicate a current Dallara-Honda Indy car, the Acura ARX-06 hybrid GTP car, and a variety of Honda and Acura concept racing vehicles.

The aerodynamic models used include Honda simulation data obtained through the Honda Manufacturing & Development 1:1 scale "HALO" wind tunnel in Ohio; while power train models are the result of Honda and HRC simulation technology. A variety of tire technology models are available, including both HRC and third-party models; while laser scanning with high-resolution point cloud road surface measuring is used to develop the individual track models.

HRC offers in-house engineering support for drivers and teams utilizing the DIL Simulator. Customized simulations can be established to meet the specific needs of the teams.

The Simulator provides an opportunity for drivers and engineers to strengthen their working relationships and understanding of one another, without the expense and time required by on-track testing. In addition, drivers can learn circuits and configurations prior to arriving at a new track. It can also be used as a coaching tool, and aid in driver development programs.

About Honda Racing Corporation USA (formerly Honda Performance Development)
Honda Racing Corporation USA (HRC US), has a rich heritage creating, manufacturing, and supporting Honda Racing and Acura Motorsports customers since its founding in 1993 as Honda Performance Development. From pinnacle racing in INDYCAR and IMSA Sports Cars to commercial racing programs, HRC US powers the dreams of professional and amateur racers from age 4 to 40+. HRC US is a wholly owned subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co., Inc. and leads all of Honda and Acura's high-performance racing programs in North America.

HRC US specializes in the design and development of powertrain, chassis, electronics, and performance parts, as well as technical and race support. The company also offers parts and race support to Honda and Acura amateur and professional motorsports racers; and is continually expanding its palette of racing programs that make Honda racing products available to all racing styles, from karting and Quarter Midgets to the highest levels of professional racing. The HRC US title replaced Honda Performance Development on January 1, 2024, to reflect the new role of the company in Honda's global racing efforts.