This dissertation covers the research work that has been accomplished in the area of vehicle dynamics simulations (VDS) with the scope of advancing the state of the art with respect to the performance assessment and optimisation of Formula 1 racing cars. This objective necessitated the development of a very efficient and highly detailed full vehicle model (fv-m) of an actual racing car and the correlation of the resulting model against track data. An advanced performance assessment scheme had to be configured and verified in order to be used for the evaluation of the potential of a suggested performance enhancing technical solution, thus proving the functionality of the proposed scheme. Modelling techniques for the subsystems that were necessary for the completion of the fv-m were investigated and, in areas of particular effect on the dynamic behaviour of the vehicle, applied and compared in terms of accuracy and numerical efficiency. Aerodynamics, tyres and powertrain models have been developed and the preferable approach for each is described in terms of modelling and application. A driver model has been employed for the closed loop simulation manoeuvres that were used for the correlation against testing data. Suspension modelling approaches were thoroughly investigated and have been compared and applied with particular attention to the accurate capturing of compliance effects. Finally, a simple and effective reduction scheme was employed in order to enhance the fv-m numerical efficiency and exploit its accuracy in lap optimisation simulations. Subsystem models that were proven in terms of accuracy and numerical efficiency were used for the development of the detailed fv-m. The simulation model has been correlated against data of a Formula One racing car tested in a vehicle dynamics proving ground and a testing lap in a racing circuit. The validation process verified the model's ability to precisely replicate the dynamic behaviour of the actual racing car and critical conclusions regarding the numerical efficiency of the fv-m have been drawn. The verified fv-m has been used in the application of a lap optimisation scheme that utilised both quasi-static and transient lap optimisation methods. The applied method was verified for accuracy and the lap optimisation results derived with each approach are explained. Finally, a novel suspension system that allows for mode decoupling and independent tuning has been modelled and investigated. The fv-m and the lap optimisation scheme that has been configured were utilised for the evaluation of the potential performance enhancements resulting from the use of a novel mode decoupling suspension system. von Mavroudakis, Basileios
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