Earlier this year, the automaker explained how it leverages 3D printing to help keep its production lines up-and-running, using the technology to produce replacement parts for crucial machines that would otherwise be much more expensive. 3D printing even helped it produce important supplies at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and was critical in allowing it to rapidly scale production of the Ventec ventilator machines it produced for the U.S. government.
Now Chevrolet Motorsports is outlining the ways that it’s able to leverage 3D printing, as well. The Bowtie’s racing division said 3D printing “has taken on a powerful role in Chevrolet Motorsports, both on- and off-road,” and says that cars equipped with parts it 3D printed have so far logged more than 80,000 competition miles so far in 2020.
For example, both the No. 3 and No. 4 Corvette C8.R race cars are equipped 75 different 3D printed parts each. These include the oil tank, driver A/C cooling box, driver hydration system, power steering pump bracket and headlight assemblies, among more.
The twin-turbocharged 2.4L V6 engine that Chevrolet IndyCar teams use also features 3D printed exhaust components, which the automaker says helps to “eliminate failure points in traditional manufactured components while increasing design freedom and reducing cost.”
Mistakenly known as a low-tech series, Chevrolet’s NASCAR teams use 3D printing to their advantage, as well. Chevrolet used 3D printing to rapidly produce over 500 new parts during the wind tunnel development for the Camaro ZL1 1LE NASCAR Cup Series body, which reduced the overall development costs and sped up the development lead times. The Camaro ZL1 1LE Cup Series car that races in the series week-in and week-out is also equipped with a 3D-printed gear cooling duct.
GM’s off-road racing efforts in the Best in the Desert Series are bolstered by 3D printing, too. The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 race truck that competed in the Laughlin Desert Classic in October 2019, which is a real-world testbed for the upcoming Silverado ZRX performance truck, featured a 3D printed rear damper shield made with carbon-fiber-reinforced plastic, among other 3D printed parts.
“By utilizing 3D-printed parts, Chevrolet Motorsports is demonstrating the many benefits of additive manufacturing, including manufacturing efficiencies, mass reduction, parts consolidation, creativity and cost savings,” said Audley Brown, GM director of Materials Engineering, Additive Design and Manufacturing. “3D-printed parts can offer equal strength and durability to cast or milled components, which is critical for product development and design.”