3D Scanning in the Motorsports Industry

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The motorsports industry is obsessed with excellence. To stay on top, organizations spend time and considerable resources to get the best engines, the best designs, the best race teams, and the best of everything else. The cool vehicles you see zooming through the race track need a lot of planning and testing before they become worthy of joining the fray. 

Today, 3D scanning has become an integral part of the motorsports industry. The enhanced precision, speed, and convenience 3D scanning delivers are an excellent match for the requirements of the motorsports industry. While there are a lot of interconnected areas where designers and engineers use 3D scanning to make their jobs easier, the following six applications are the most noteworthy.  

Product Development and Design

Staying ahead of the competition is of paramount importance in the motorsports industry. Top-tier organizations continue to develop better, faster, and more advanced products each day and 3D scanning helps them achieve their goals.

Functionality is not the only aspect a product development team has to deal with. Designs need to be comfortable, aesthetic, and unique enough to leave a mark. No race team would want to take out a completely generic design or something extremely unusual. All of this requires time, a skilled team, and access to the latest rendering tools to perfect. 

Quality Control

In the motorsports sector specifically, and the automotive sector in general, there is very little room for mistakes. The life of the racer and other people depend on the overall build quality of the product, which must always be state-of-the-art. 3D scanning can give users precision and maintain the quality control standards this industry demands. 

During the development phase, engineers try out multiple designs through computer simulations and other physical tests. There is a constant need to consider deformations, tolerances, wear & tears, and carry out multiple other assessments. This requires a reliable and faster measurement method like 3D scanning, which eliminates human error and keeps the readings precise enough to meet the industrial standards.

Motorsports Performance

In motorsports, every second counts. The drivers need all the help they can get before going on the racetrack. Speed and aerodynamics go hand-in-hand when it comes to engineering applications as drag forces play a crucial role in determining the winner. From huge factors like the profile of your vehicle to the smallest detail like the clothes your rider is wearing, everything can make a significant difference in the results. 

For this reason, motorsports designers are always working on improving the aerodynamics of their products. As the manufacturing capabilities increase due to advances in additive manufacturing and material science technologies, designers can try out sleeker and more complex shapes. This is an iterative process where complex shapes are conceived, tested, optimized, retested, and so on. Using 3D scanning and other related technologies can bring down the number of required iterations significantly, and improve the overall productivity, and efficiency of the entire team.   

Motorsports Diagnostics and Crash Assessments

Calling motorsports extreme is an understatement. There are multiple instances where your product may go through deformations during the race. It is industry standard to test out the vehicle after each race to study the residual stresses and make sure if the chassis is suitable for use in the future. 

3D scanning is also useful for carrying out assessments after a crash, which is a huge possibility in motorsport. Engineers need to study their vehicles after the crash to point out all vulnerabilities and design flaws to prevent similar failures in the future. The post-crash analysis is also important from a safety standpoint. Knowing about the possible dangers and failure points can help designers come up with features to ensure the safety of the rider, which is naturally the most important thing. 


Ergonomics is another key aspect of engineering design that requires repeated testing. Ensuring the comfort of a rider is among the utmost priorities for racing teams. In bike development, most ergonomic features are added after scanning the product while the rider is sitting on it to maximize the efficiency of the process. Replicating that process with traditional CAD scanning methods will take ages compared to the time required for 3D scanning and even then, the results will not be as accurate. 

3D Scanning to Produce Aftermarket Parts

For car enthusiasts working on customizing their vehicles, 3D scanning is a blessing. Customization in the past required a lot of money and iterations due to the limitations in the technology. Even then, the parts seemed a bit out-of-place to an expert’s eye. With 3D scanning and 3D printing, that problem does not exist anymore. You can introduce many add-ons, enhancements, and multiple other features tailored specifically for your car.

In motorsports, aftermarket part production has several uses. You might lose access to a specific key part of your vehicle due to any reason. Through 3D scanning, you can simply proceed with creating a perfect replica in your existing facility. In some cases, you might even get a chance to introduce some improvements as well. 

Another common application of 3D scanning in motorsports deals with vintage racing cars. Classic motorsports or vintage racing – similar to modern motorsports, but with classic cars and updated safety standards – need 3D scanning to reverse engineer obsolete components. Most of these cars require vigilant maintenance and must meet specific safety standards to become race-worthy. Through 3D scanning, maintaining obsolete equipment, and keeping a record of parts becomes simple for everyone involved. 

Final Thoughts

Just like the automobile sector, 3D scanning applications are an area of interest for motorsports. The quick testing capabilities without a compromise on the accuracy and other function make this technology compatible with the ‘ready to race’ mentality of the motorsports sector.  

Motorsports is not the only industry where 3D scanning is exceptionally useful. Multiple industries are leveraging the benefits of this technology to boost up their measurement capabilities and optimize their processes. Considering its potential, 3D scanning technology is only expected to undergo further development at an unprecedented pace.   



Sean is head engineer with his previous career stemming from mechanical engineering, automotive dynamics, and aerospace. Pulling from real-world experience, he has over 15 years of experience as a designer and in fabrication. Before creating Tangent Solutions, Sean was the lead designer for many winning off-road race teams as well as mass-market production companies

About Tangent Solutions

Tangent Solutions offers the latest in 3D scanning technology paired with 15 years of CAD design experience, to bring your ideas to reality. Our team specializes in reverse engineering and data verification.

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