BMW Motorsport returns to Formula 1 with CATIA Solutions

CATIA simulation capabilities reduce V10 engine development time

Munich (Germany), 25 January 2001 - BMW Motorsport has teamed with CATIA Solutions to develop the V10 engine that powers the BMW.WilliamsF1 team car during the 2001 Formula 1 (F1) racing season and the years to come. Using CATIA Solutions software, and under the management of BMW’s technical director Dr. Mario Theissen, a team of CATIA specialists helped implement best practices and methodologies to design and construct the innovative, high tech engine. Competing for the first time in 12 years, the BMW.WilliamsF1 team ranked 3rd in the 2000 Formula 1 constructors’ championship.

CATIA Solutions is the world’s leading computer-aided design, manufacturing and engineering (CAD/CAM/CAE) software. It is used either for chassis or engine development by 8 of 11 active Formula 1 teams.

Renowned as a leader in engine construction, BMW Motorsport selected CATIA for its capacity to manage advanced processes, as well as for its sophisticated simulation techniques. CATIA enables BMW Motorsport designers to develop concurrent engineering processes throughout the enterprise, and share team data on the V10’s extensive assembly and large number of components (approximately 800).

Moreover, CATIA enables BMW Motorsport to reduce its power train development time significantly. Because the engine and transmission are integral to a Formula 1 car chassis, understanding the stiffness of the power train is key to predicting the chassis performance and, eventually, the handling characteristics of the vehicle. Using CATIA advanced Finite Element Modeling and Analysis capabilities allows BMW Motorsport to predict the stiffness of the complete power train assembly in days, a task typically either subcontracted—taking many weeks—or not attempted at all.

To streamline meshing operations, which are repetitive and time-consuming, BMW Motorsport designers use CATIA to simulate the behavior of the mechanical engine. This enable them to test, verify and reengineer the engine components and their assemblies before it is manufactured—reducing development cycle times dramatically, limiting the risk of errors, and giving BMW Motorsport competitive advantages in its development process. Moreover, using CATIA high-level simulation capabilities enables BMW Motorsport to reduce its pre-processing time by 75 percent while maintaining a high level of component quality.

In addition to using CATIA’s advanced product features for development of the V10, BMW relies on highly skilled consulting teams to provide services and support, including training and technical support, as well as on-site assistance.

The V10 engine was developed at the new BMW Formula 1 plant in Munich, a state-of-the-art facility for engine design, construction, assembly and testing, as well as quality assurance and logistics. It is at this plant where the engine development team, equipped with 45 CATIA seats (RS6000 workstations), designs and simulates the V10 engine.

 “In CATIA Solutions we have a powerful, innovative system that helped jump-start our engine development process,” explained Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport director and former Grand Prix driver. “In only two years from the project outset, we had a world-class engine ready for public viewing.”

“With CATIA’s digital mock-up capabilities, we were able to create a full-scale engine in 3D—a first for us,” commented Werner Laurenz, BMW Motorsport head of F1 engine development.