Caterham Composites and Altair collaborate on racing yacht parts, electric car

The two firms' strategic partnership leads to successful part designs.

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Caterham Composites (Hürth, Germany), the lightweight structures team within Caterham Group, and technology experts Altair Engineering (Troy, Mich. and Böblingen, Germany), have extended and expanded their strategic partnership. Both companies have successfully streamlined the critical exchange between design and simulation during 2012, on a major technical partnership involving Alex Thomson Racing. The companies provided engineering support to help Alex Thomson finish the Vendée Globe 2012/2013 yacht race in 3rd place.

The sliding coach roof, which protects the skipper, and the tiller that provides leverage to allow the helmsman to turn the rudder, were designed and engineered by Caterham Composites. Altair Engineering focused on the simulation and optimization for the bespoke parts.

Alex Thomson, skipper of the HUGO BOSS IMOCA 60, says “The weather I faced gave me ample opportunity to push the adjustments that we made to the coach roof to the limit and I’m pleased to say it’s excellent. The engineering expertise provided by Caterham Composites, in conjunction with Altair, meant that the resulting composite product delivered exactly what was required from this modification.”

“The partnership between Caterham Composites and Alex Thomson Racing has been a great example of how the professional sailing industry can benefit from the experience and expertise of Formula One engineering.” says Stewart Hosford, managing director of Alex Thomson Racing. “It was an exciting project for both parties to be involved in and we hope that this partnership and others like it will continue to drive innovation forward in the marine industry.”

Caterham Composites and Altair have also been working together on the Concept Electric Coupé which is paving the way for a cost-focused, automotive survival cell suitable for medium-volume production vehicles. Phil Hall, managing director of Caterham Composites is more than satisfied with the results and emphasised: “The partnership with Altair Engineering enables us to guarantee our customers an excellent and customised structural lightweight solution based on our knowledge gained in the high-end performance industry, Formula One, alongside Altair’s know-how of simulation and optimisation software. We are proud to announce an extension of our successful partnership and even expand on it.”