Marcel Fassler believes that his time in Chevrolet’s simulator has played an “important step” in preparation for the competition debut of the Corvette C8.R in next weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The Swiss driver recently completed two days in Chevy’s simulator in Huntersville, N.C. to help acclimate himself to the mid-engined GTE car, which he still has relatively limited experience with so far.
Both Fassler and fellow Corvette endurance driver Nicky Catsburg got their first laps in the Pratt & Miller-built car at the Roar Before the Rolex 24, with Fassler logging a total of 82 laps over the three-day test.
“It is quite interesting to see how close the simulator is to reality,” said Fassler.
“For sure there will never be a simulation that is 100 percent comparable to reality in terms of what you feel in the real car.
“But I was very surprised at how close the C8.R in the simulator felt to reality.”
The 43-year-old explained the process in the simulator, which had played a crucial role in the early development of the car.
“We started with a baseline from the Roar and went through other types of setups and worked on tire modeling as well,” Fassler said.
“That is one of the most important things – that the tire matches what we have on the racetracks. That has to be one of the most difficult parts (to correlate) – a real tire is moving and squeezing, undergoing lateral and longitudinal forces that are combined.
“It’s quite a challenge to make that work in a simulator. But I have to say the engineers were very prepared and I could really feel the car in the same way as I did in Daytona.”
While rejoining full-season drivers Tommy Milner and Oliver Gavin for Daytona, Fassler said he feels better prepared for race week in the new car, which still holds a number of unknowns.
“It was an important step to have this time in the simulator,” he said. “For me, it was also a benefit to be in the ‘car’ again to gain as much experience and information as possible before the Rolex.
“It was an opportunity to try a few different things like lines that we can try out at the track.”