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Tokai U Uses PTC MCAD Software To Design Car that Competes at Le Mans

Tokai University, which competed in this year's Le Mans 24-hour endurance race, developed its competition vehicle with Pro/Engineer, PTC's 3D computer aided design/manufacturing and engineering software. The Tokai team was formally approved for participation in the race and began vehicle design in 2001 and produced a study car in 2005. According to the school, this was the first time a university team participated in the race.

Le Mans, held near the town of Le Mans, France, is a 24-hour endurance race that is run on closed public roads. The race was established in 1923 and is part of the "Triple Crown" of Motor sports, which includes the Monaco Grand Prix and the Indianapolis 500. Le Mans is unique to other Grand Prix racing because it places a higher priority on vehicle reliability and fuel efficiency given the nature of the course and length of the race. The team of 150 used Pro/ENGINEER as the mechanical computer-aided design software for the race car's design. The students also designed every other aspect of the car as well.

"Pro/ENGINEER is a very straightforward tool, and it enables an engineer to freely design to their heart's content," said Yoshimasa Hayashi, leader of the Le Mans project and a member of the Tokai Research Institute of Science and Technology. "It's easy-to-use because the principles in the product are similar to the way that an engineer thinks. Additionally, the product includes all the main capabilities that we required like simulation and analysis."

Le Mans took place last week. The Tokai entry lasted until lap 186, 18 hours into the race, when it stalled and was "retired" from the competition. According to the school, the main cause was a breakdown of a transmission part. The winner was Team Audi Sport North America with a car driven by racers Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish, and Rinaldo Capello.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.

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