"To win every race” is the motto for McLaren Racing, and official partner Dassault Systèmes is attempting to help by decreasing the amount of time it takes to get an idea from concept to execution.
Dassault recently helped McLaren implement V6 of its CATIA software suite, an update that's supposed to aid efficiency and communication between business units. “McLaren has been a CATIA customer for more than 10 years; they were an early adopter of the software and the first F1 team to adopt CATIA V6,” said Rashpal Mundi, Dassault Systèmes client executive U.K.-Formula One and automotive.
Mundi explained that one of the primary benefits of V6 is the ability for multiple partners to work collaboratively on a project as a whole or in specific pieces over the Internet in a digital environment. For example, one set of design engineers might be at the McLaren Technical Centre looking for improvements on rear brake-duct aerodynamics. Another group of engineers halfway around the world could be looking at the same screen interacting in a three-dimensional environment with the engineers in the United Kingdom.
“The whole car will be available to be viewed by designated partners,” said Tom Lesson, Dassault Systèms marketing manager EuroNorth. “They can open up specific folders by each section or part and examine which portion is ready and which needs additional development and time.” After all, time is a fleeting commodity for race teams. At the midway point of any given season, McLaren is deep into development of the upcoming season's vehicle.
“We can't afford waste, be it in the form of time, defects, human potential, energy or unnecessary complexity,” Mundi said. As the season rolls on, so does the continued development of the current chassis and components. Nearly 80 percent of the car will change over the course of a racing season, and companies such as McLaren also have the ever-changing regulations of the FIA to contend with. “CATIA V6 allows a great leap forward in efficiency and productivity,” Mundi said. “That means an increased amount of time to develop new ideas, improve the products and reduce overhead.”