Wirth Research

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Wirth Research
Traded as Wirth Research Ltd
Industry LeMans LMP Engineering Racing Design Simulators F1
Founder Nicholas Wirth
Bicester, Oxfordshire
Website www.wirthresearch.com

Wirth Research is a group of engineering companies, founded by Nicholas Wirth in 2003, specialising in research, development, design and manufacture for the motor racing industry and other high technology sectors.

Engineering applied science

Engineering is the use of scientific principles to design and build machines, structures, and other things, including bridges, roads, vehicles, and buildings. The discipline of engineering encompasses a broad range of more specialized fields of engineering, each with a more specific emphasis on particular areas of applied mathematics, applied science, and types of application. See glossary of engineering.

Nick Wirth British Formula One designer

Nicholas John Peter Wirth is an automotive engineer and the founder and owner of Wirth Research.

Research systematic study undertaken to increase knowledge

Research is "creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of knowledge, including knowledge of humans, culture and society, and the use of this stock of knowledge to devise new applications." It is used to establish or confirm facts, reaffirm the results of previous work, solve new or existing problems, support theorems, or develop new theories. A research project may also be an expansion on past work in the field. Research projects can be used to develop further knowledge on a topic, or in the example of a school research project, they can be used to further a student's research prowess to prepare them for future jobs or reports. To test the validity of instruments, procedures, or experiments, research may replicate elements of prior projects or the project as a whole. The primary purposes of basic research are documentation, discovery, interpretation, or the research and development (R&D) of methods and systems for the advancement of human knowledge. Approaches to research depend on epistemologies, which vary considerably both within and between humanities and sciences. There are several forms of research: scientific, humanities, artistic, economic, social, business, marketing, practitioner research, life, technological, etc. The scientific study of research practices is known as meta-research.


The companies use virtual engineering technologies to enable a completely simulated vehicle design, development and testing process. The group is known for deviating from traditional physical development models; most notably neglecting to use a wind tunnel and instead relying solely upon computational fluid dynamics to design the 2010 Virgin Racing VR-01 Formula 1 car. [1]

Virtual engineering is defined as integrating geometric models and related engineering tools such as analysis, simulation, optimization, and decision making tools, etc., within a computer-generated environment that facilitates multidisciplinary collaborative product development. Virtual engineering shares many characteristics with software engineering, such as the ability to obtain many different results through different implementations.

A simulation is an approximate imitation of the operation of a process or system; the act of simulating first requires a model is developed. This model is a well-defined description of the simulated subject, and represents its key characteristics, such as its behaviour, functions and abstract or physical properties. The model represents the system itself, whereas the simulation represents its operation over time.

Wind tunnel tool used in aerodynamic research to study the effects of air moving past solid objects

Wind tunnels are large tubes with air moving inside. The tunnels are used to copy the actions of an object in flight. Researchers use wind tunnels to learn more about how an aircraft will fly. NASA uses wind tunnels to test scale models of aircraft and spacecraft. Some wind tunnels are big enough to hold full-size versions of vehicles. The wind tunnel moves air around an object, making it seem like the object is really flying.

The Wirth Research group have a long-standing partnership with Honda Performance Development Inc (HPD) [2] which is responsible for the design, development and manufacture of the ARX sports cars. [3] Wirth Research also provides client IndyCar teams with full technical support.

Honda Performance Development, Inc. (HPD) is a subsidiary of American Honda Motor Co. which was established in 1993 and is based in Santa Clarita, California. It is the technical operations center for Honda's American motorsports programs and is involved in the design and development of race engines and chassis for auto racing series such as the IndyCar Series, American Le Mans Series (ALMS), Le Mans Series (LMS), FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and Super GT.

Acura ARX-01

The Acura ARX-01, later known as the HPD ARX-01 is a series of Le Mans Prototype built for sports car racing, specifically in the American Le Mans Series, Le Mans Series, and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It is the first purpose-built race car by the Acura division of Honda Motor Company, part of their multi-year program to eventually compete in endurance race. The car debuted in 2007 in the American Le mans Series before expanding to customers in Europe. Over the years various specifications of the ARX-01 chassis have been developed, each signified by a letter suffix. In 2010 Acura withdrew their name from the program and Honda Performance Development which developed the car for Acura continued the program into 2011.


Wirth Research encompasses design disciplines that include:

Composite material material made from a combination of two or more dislike substances

A composite material is a material made from two or more constituent materials with significantly different physical or chemical properties that, when combined, produce a material with characteristics different from the individual components. The individual components remain separate and distinct within the finished structure, differentiating composites from mixtures and solid solutions.

Suspension (vehicle) system of tires, tire air, springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels and allows relative motion between the two

Suspension is the system of tires, tire air, springs, shock absorbers and linkages that connects a vehicle to its wheels and allows relative motion between the two. Suspension systems must support both road holding/handling and ride quality, which are at odds with each other. The tuning of suspensions involves finding the right compromise. It is important for the suspension to keep the road wheel in contact with the road surface as much as possible, because all the road or ground forces acting on the vehicle do so through the contact patches of the tires. The suspension also protects the vehicle itself and any cargo or luggage from damage and wear. The design of front and rear suspension of a car may be different.

Transmission (mechanics) machine in a power transmission system for controlled application of the power;gearbox,uses gears/gear trains to provide speed,torque conversions from a rotating power source to another device;reduces the higher engine speed to the slower wheel speed

A transmission is a machine in a power transmission system, which provides controlled application of the power. Often the term transmission refers simply to the gearbox that uses gears and gear trains to provide speed and torque conversions from a rotating power source to another device.

Wirth Research uses tools provided by Siemens UGS PLM for many of its design activities.

Siemens AG (Aktiengesellschaft) is a German multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Munich and the largest industrial manufacturing company in Europe with branch offices abroad.

Computational Fluid Dynamics

The company uses ANSYS Fluent solvers for its analysis.

Aerodynamic design

The largest department at Wirth Research, whose Computational Fluid Dynamics contents are typically evaluated by WR Digital.

Whilst the company is not known for using physical models in the development process, it does use real-world wind-tunnel testing to verify its CFD results.

Vehicle simulation

Two identical simulators are split between HPD's headquarters in Indianapolis and the company's base in Bicester. They are built in partnership with Cruden on a modified 6 degree of freedom motion platform constructed of carbon fibre and presently housing a DW12 Monocoque. The display mode consists of numerous projectors providing a passive stereoscopic 3D 170 degree display of a modified version of the Racer simulation engine. [4]

Virtual reality

Virtual reality and Augmented Reality applications such as Emersio are developed and used by Wirth Research for assessing ergonomic issues and presenting new ideas in 1:1 scale.

Related Research Articles

The von Karman Institute for Fluid Dynamics (VKI) is a non-profit educational and scientific organization which specializes in three specific fields: aeronautics and aerospace, environment and applied fluid dynamics, turbomachinery and propulsion. Founded in 1956, it is located in Sint-Genesius-Rode, Belgium.

Sim (simulated) racing is the collective term for computer software that attempts to accurately simulate auto racing, complete with real-world variables such as fuel usage, damage, tire wear and grip, and suspension settings. To be competitive in sim racing, a driver must understand all aspects of car handling that make real-world racing so difficult, such as threshold braking, how to maintain control of a car as the tires lose traction, and how properly to enter and exit a turn without sacrificing speed. It is this level of difficulty that distinguishes sim racing from "arcade" driving games where real-world variables are taken out of the equation and the principal objective is to create a sense of speed as opposed to a sense of realism.

Ansys American engineering simulation software developer

Ansys Inc. is an American public company based in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania. It develops and markets engineering simulation software. Ansys software is used to design products and semiconductors, as well as to create simulations that test a product's durability, temperature distribution, fluid movements, and electromagnetic properties.

Overflow (software) fluid dynamics simulation software

OVERFLOW - the OVERset grid FLOW solver - is a software package for simulating fluid flow around solid bodies using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). It is a compressible 3-D flow solver that solves the time-dependent, Reynolds-averaged, Navier-Stokes equations using multiple overset structured grids.

Robotics simulator

A robotics simulator is used to create application for a physical robot without depending on the actual machine, thus saving cost and time. In some case, these applications can be transferred onto the physical robot without modifications.

Specialized wind energy software applications aid in the development and operation of wind farms.

Vortex Studio is a complete simulation software platform. It features a high-fidelity, realtime physics engine developed by CM Labs Simulations that simulates rigid body dynamics, collision detection, contact determination, and dynamic reactions. It also contains model import and preparation tools, an image generator, and networking tools for distributed simulation, accessed through a desktop editor via a GUI. Vortex adds accurate physical motion and interactions to objects in visual-simulation applications for operator training, mission planning, product concept validation, heavy machinery and robotics design and testing, haptics devices, immersive and virtual reality (VR) environments.

Virgin Racing

Virgin Racing was a Formula One racing team which was under management of Manor Motorsport, Wirth Research and Richard Branson's Virgin Group which competed in Formula One in 2010 and 2011. It scored no points and finished last in the Constructor's Championship for the two years the team competed.

SimCraft, a privately held company headquartered just outside Atlanta, Georgia, is the creator of a proprietary motion simulation technology and manufactures simulation equipment integrating this technology, including professional driver in the loop racing simulators. The motion simulator technology, in development since 1998, is designed to recreate the manner in which vehicles move in earth physics. The company offers a range of simulator products in the category of motion simulation that provide a tactile true motion experience for Motorsport Simulation and flight simulation. The company's core innovation and technology is the simulation of vehicle movement through proprietary physics based software interfaces and a patent pending hardware architecture based on Center of Mass principles of motion. The company's product applications range principally by variation in chassis design and material and are found in usage from military training/research, professional training, to individual simulation and gaming enthusiast entertainment.

rFactor 2 is a computer racing simulator developed by the American independent software firm Image Space Incorporated and released for Windows in 2013. Like its predecessor, rFactor, it is designed to be modified and is used by professional racing teams for driver training and race car development. Much of its source code is derived from rFactor Pro which is also used by professional racers and most of the Formula One teams and NASCAR manufacturers.

CarSim is a commercial software package that predicts the performance of vehicles in response to driver controls in a given environment. CarSim is produced and distributed by an American company, Mechanical Simulation Corporation, using technology that originated at the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Virgin MVR-02 racing automobile

The Virgin MVR-02 is a Formula One racing car designed by Wirth Research for Marussia Virgin Racing, and used by them during the 2011 Formula One season. Like its predecessor, the Virgin VR-01, the MVR-02 was designed entirely with computational fluid dynamics, with Nick Wirth's design studio doubling their CFD capacity ahead of the 2011 season. The addition of the "M" in the car's chassis designation reflected the team's new owner, Russian sports car manufacturer Marussia Motors. The car was unveiled in London on 7 February 2011, and was driven during the racing season by returning driver Timo Glock and debutant Jérôme d'Ambrosio.

Honda Indy V8

The Honda Indy V8 engine is a 3.5-litre naturally-aspirated V8, developed and produced by HPD-AHM Co. in partnership with Ilmor Engineering for IndyCar Series. Honda Indy V8 was a highly-successful IndyCar Series engine supplier from 2003 to 2011 seasons before replaced by Honda Indy V6 at the following season. Honda Indy V8 was unveiled at 2002 Detroit Auto Show and assembled at HPD power assembly plant in Santa Clarita, California, USA in early 2003.

The HPD ARX-04b is an LMP2 race car designed and built by Wirth Research for Honda Performance Development. The car was designed as the successor to the HPD ARX-03 series of Le Mans Prototypes, however the poor performance of the car meant that the older model outlived the ARX-04b, and the 04b only contested one race, the 2015 24 Hours of Daytona.

Auto Research Center

Auto Research Center, also known as ARC Indy, is a research and development company with headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana USA. It was founded as Reynard Motorsports North American headquarters, and became its own company in 2002.


CONSELF is a computer-aided engineering (CAE) platform used by engineers for design purposes. The platform, which highly relies on cloud computing, is developed by CONSELF SRL since its first release in October 2015. In March 2016 a new release of the platform defined guided workflows for the users with focus on turbomachinery, fire scenarios and flows with dispersed solid particles. Through the platform it is possible to run both Computational Fluid Dynamics and Finite Element Analysis. Among the solvers and libraries used by CONSELF platform, a number of open-source technologies are included, such as:


  1. "Leading experts in computational fluid dynamics and flow simulation". Wirth Research. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  2. "Wirth partners with Honda on aero kit | IndyCar News". Crash.net. 13 September 2011. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  3. "Leading experts in computational fluid dynamics and flow simulation". Wirth Research. Retrieved 15 February 2014.
  4. "Wirth Research Simulator – Videos — VirtualR – Sim Racing News". Virtualr.net. 11 October 2010. Retrieved 15 February 2014.