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From Corvette to coronavirus face shields, 3D printing is enabling GM to work smarter

General Motor is investing in 3D printing technology.

Photo courtesy of General Motors

Three-dimensional printing is taking on larger and larger roles at automakers worldwide. At General Motors (GM), the impact of the implantation of the technology has effected business operations from the building of the newest generation Corvette to the company's pivot to creating supplies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"3D printing helps us design and build parts and products faster and in ways we previously couldn't," said Kevin Quinn, GM director of additive design and manufacturing. "It's already having a positive impact on how we develop and build vehicles, like Corvette, and it's allowed us to apply our mass production expertise to medical supplies and devices."

General Motors ear savers 3d printing The company produced 3D printed �ear savers,� which help make masks more comfortable for some wearers. Photo courtesy of General Motors

Years ago, when noted first physical version of what would become the C8 came together, 75 percent of its parts were 3D printed. GM says that this allowed its research and development teams to envision how the vehicle would come together and allowed them to diagnose and correct issues early on, leading to a reduced development time.

GM is working to implement the technology even further within its product development and production plans as the technology rapidly develops.

GM has a long history with using 3D printing in development. The company has been using additive manufacturing for rapid prototyping since 1989. Remember 1989? That was the year George H.W. Bush was sworn in as president, serial killer Ted Bundy was executed, Time Warner was created from a merger, and Tim Berners-Lee produced a proposal document for what would become the blueprint for the World Wide Web.

The company's ability to do more 3D printing is due to a recent significant investment in the technology. The Additive Innovation Lab, a 4,000-square-foot facility, opened at the Cole Engineering Center inside GM's Global Technical Center in Warren, Michigan last year. The lab's location makes it accessible to engineers, designers, and other team members. To date, more than 700 employees have been trained by the facility's combined salaried and hourly workforce.

"Most design work takes place in computer-aided design or computer-aided engineering these days, but there's no substitute for having an actual part in hand to prove out your concept, be it a transmission component or a face shield visor," said Quinn.

A second greenfield facility, the Additive Industrialization Center, will begin official operations in late 2020 onsite at GM's Global Technical Center. GM says that the stand-alone facility will further expand the company's expertise and capability in 3D printing and additive manufacturing.

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BMW is adding new racing experiences to the roster at is Performance Center West.

Photo courtesy of BMW

BMW Performance Center Driving Schools have added to their curriculum offerings with the BMW M and M4 GT4 Experience, the M4 GT4 Private Coaching with Data and Video Session, and the Race Licensing School. All courses are offered at their driving school in Thermal, California.

BMW M and M4 GT4 Experience

M4 GT4 Experiences and Race Licensing School

Photo courtesy of BMW

This full day program carries a $2,795 price tag and includes driving various BMW M cars and the M4 GT4 race car. Attendees start their day with a classroom session that reviews proper driving technique then they receive an overview of the car and are outfitted with a racing suit and helmet. Next, they head to the Thermal Club track and get in some guided laps behind a BMW instructor, experiencing speeds up to 140 mph I the M4 GT4 race car.

The M4 GT4 model driven is the exact same as the race car driven in series around the world. It's powered by a twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine that produces more than 430 horsepower while the rear wing, front splitter, and Continental racing tires make this car stick to the track through the corners.

Each session includes:

  • VBOX data and video system in the M4 GT4 to record the session.
  • Access to professional instructors, trackside crew and support.
  • All driving gear for the duration of the class – racing suit, helmet, gloves and shoes.
  • Lunch at the BMW Performance Center café.
  • Insurance, with a $2,500 deductible for vehicle or property damage

BMW M4 GT4 Private Coaching with Data & Video (Half Day)

M4 GT4 Experiences and Race Licensing School

Photo courtesy of BMW

This half-day, $4,995 program includes 125 miles of track driving in the M4 GT4 race car. Students start with a classroom session that reviews proper driving technique before being outfitted for their M4 GT4 driving session. The class includes:

  • VBOX data and video system in the M4 GT4 to record the session.
  • Time in the BMW M4 GT4 race car, one professional instructor and trackside support.
  • All driving gear for the duration of the class – racing suit, helmet, gloves and shoes.
  • Lunch at the BMW Performance Center café.
  • Insurance, with a $2,500 deductible for vehicle or property damage.
  • More miles can be purchased on the day of training. The program is designed for one driver. However, two drivers sharing a car can be arranged upon request.
  • The schedule is flexible. Please call 888-345-2269, and one of the BMW Performance Center driving instructors will reply to answer any questions and schedule the coaching session. Discounts are not allowed for this program

BMW M4 GT4 Private Coaching with Data & Video (Full Day)

M4 GT4 Experiences and Race Licensing School

Photo courtesy of BMW

For $9,995, students get a full-day private program that includes 250 miles of track driving in the M4 GT4 race car. The days starts with a classroom session that reviews proper driving technique before being fitted out for their M4 GT4. The class includes:

  • VBOX data and video system in the M4 GT4 to record the session.
  • Time in the BMW M4 GT4 race car, one professional instructor and trackside support.
  • All driving gear for the duration of the class – racing suit, helmet, gloves and shoes.
  • Lunch at our BMW Performance Center café.
  • Insurance, with a $2,500 deductible for vehicle or property damage.
  • More miles can be purchased on the day of training. The program is designed for one driver. However, two drivers sharing a car can be arranged upon request.

Race License School: The Path to Professional

M4 GT4 Experiences and Race Licensing School

Photo courtesy of BMW

After you've been through BMW's Advanced M School or the Two-Day M School, BMW Performance offers a SCCA-certified school to take your skills to the next level on your way to becoming a pro driver. Students can add the one-day school to an Advanced M School or Two-Day M School session and get qualified all at once.What will be learned:

  • Learn the colors. Green. Yellow. Red - No there aren't any traffic lights on the track. But there are flags, and you'll learn what each represents while you're out there to maintain safety.
  • Passing. Don't let off. - Start off with you in a BMW, behind your instructor in theirs. They will coach you through the art of passing under both braking and acceleration. Then, we'll bring on a classmate and coach you both as you battle for first place.
  • Keep Rollin'. Practice race starts - In racing, how you start can impact how you finish, and we'll show you how to get started right in a grid set up, as well as rolling starts. Learn how to navigate with other cars on track while setting up for that first turn.

Additional information be found at https://bmwperformancecenter.com. Courses can be booked online or by calling 1-888-345-4BMW.

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The 488 GT Modificata is the newest addition to the Ferrari lineup.

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

The new, limited edition Ferrari 488 GT Modificata takes its technology from the 288 GT3 and 488 GTE, the pushes to achieve its full athletic potential. That potential is exclusively for use during track days and at Ferrari Club Competizioni GT events.

The Ferrari 488 GT Modificata takes its name from the Ferrari jargon meaning better performance. It takes its prowess from the genes of the 488 GT3 and the 488 GTE. It also has new technologies, mainly linked to the powertrain, that are no longer limited by the FIA Balance of Performance.

Ferrari 488 GT Modificata

Photo courtesy of Ferrari

The 488 GTE competes in the World Endurance Championship. Ferrari calls the 488 GT3 the "queen of GT racing". The 488 GT3 has delivered 350 wins and 630 podiums at national and international races as well as the FIA World Endurance Championship Drivers', Teams' and Manufacturers' titles. The 488 GTE has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Petit Le Mans. Ferrari tuned the new model at the Nordschleife.

It's powered by a twin-turbo V8 that delivers 690 horsepower. Ferrari says that it does all that by utilizing new high-performance mapping that doesn't compromise the car's predicted reliability. The car's gearbox is available with different transmission ratios. The clutch is made of carbon fiber.

Ferrari has given the car unique high-downforce aerodynamics that shift the position of the car forward. This positioning generates higher downforce without increasing drag, allowing the model to be more efficient than its racing counterparts. The car has downforce of over 2,204 pounds at 142 mph.

The car's body is made almost entirely of carbon fiber. It has an aluminum roof and uprights.

Ferrari has given the 488 GT Modificata the 488 GTW's suspension. The braking system was developed in partnership with Brembo and features low residual torque calipers that are fitted to world championship cars. Its antilock brake system comes from the 488 GT3 Evo 2020, with specific settings.

Each model comes standard with a V-Boz acquisition system, which combines with Bosch's telemetry data acquisition system and allows data to be downloaded directly onto a USB stick.

A high-resolution rearview camera is also standard.

Customers will be able to nearly fully customize their 488 GT Modificata. It will initially only be for drivers who, in recent years, have participated in Competizioni GT with Ferrari or Club Competizioni GT.

The 488 GT Modificata will be admitted to Club Competizioni GT events. In 2021, customers will have the chance to participate in five events at tracks including Virginia International Raceway, Monza, Watkins Glen, Suzuka, Nurburgring, and Finali Mondiali.

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