Computers have revolutionised the ability of engineers to investigate design compromises, long before the hardware stage and at a fraction of the cost. Ilmor employ specialist engineers with practical knowledge of engines who use analysis tools to predict and optimise engine performance and component durability.
Tools such as 1D Engine Simulation and Finite Element Analysis are key to this, as well as numerous other programs developed internally at Ilmor. 1D simulation allows engine performance and response to software or hardware changes to be predicted, reducing the need to manufacture costly hardware that may ultimately yield no benefit.
Finite Element Analysis allows potential failure points on a component to be identified and addressed at the design stage. This can result in large cost reductions by ensuring components are right first time and as a consequence leads to a rapidly increased pace of performance development. Of course as engine performance increases so too can the loads on components which can lead to early life failures. FEA is also used as a reactive tool to simulate known failure points and identify design changes that can be made to keep the constant cycle of improvement running.
Analysis is a tool. It can be a very powerful aid to efficient development, in the right hands.