Transforming city streets into a Formula 1 racetrack

Singapore formula 1 racetrack position partners

For the second year running, Singapore contractor United E&P was tasked with preparing the racetrack for the country’s Formula 1 race in September. Unlike many cities that utilise existing race circuits, Singapore transforms some of the city streets into race car-worthy surfaces in a matter of days. 

To meet the tight deadlines and deliver a track that will pass muster with the racing car elite, United E&P partnered with Topcon Positioning Systems’ largest distributor in the Oceania region, Position Partners.

Using a full suite of design software, mapping and profiling technology, survey instruments and paving machine control systems, United E&P began by scanning and modelling the planned track surfaces before optimising a design and paving the tarmac.

“Having worked closely with United E&P at Singapore’s Changi airport expansion project in recent years, we have developed a trusted business partnership to utilise technology to its full potential on these cornerstone projects for the country,” Mathew Connelly, Position Partners Manager for South East Asia, said.

The racetrack has a specification governed by global motor sport safety association FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile).

“The tolerances on this job are very tight,” Graham Castle, Construction Manager at United E&P, said. “We have a riding index we have to meet, a +/- 3mm tolerance on our levels and also 3mm tolerance under a 4m straight edge for the paved surface.”

United E&P used Topcon’s resurfacing solution to map the existing surface of the circuit. Laser scanning technology was used to model the track, enabling an optimised design to be loaded onto the machines.

MAGNET software was used to create a CAD model for the racetrack, which was then loaded onto paving machines using machine control technology and survey rovers to accurately build to design.

“Using Topcon’s RD-M3 software we can variable depth milling for our machines so we’re milling to the design,” Mr Castle said.

“Previously on jobs like these you’d take 50mm out and put 50mm back in, wasting material and not optimising the surface.”

Greater GPS accuracy

United E&P utilised a range of Topcon paving machine control solutions – these steer the paver to deliver the smoothest results, automatically correcting the machine for optimal compaction.

Topcon offers a unique machine control system for fine tolerance work including grading and paving applications. Millimetre GPS uses a combination of a high-performance laser transmitter and GNSS positioning technology to create a large working zone that delivers up to 300 per cent greater accuracy than a standard GPS solution alone.

However, in a city with many high-rise buildings, getting a clear view of the sky for GPS technology is not always possible.

“Topcon’s Millimetre GPS solution is by far the quickest and most flexible platform when it comes to paving as it can control multiple machines, is fast to set up at the start of a shift and delivers incredible accuracy,” Mr Castle said.

“But as we can’t get a reliable GPS fix in all areas of the track, we also switch to total station technology to give positioning information to the machines, so we can maintain a consistent level of accuracy across the project. Only Topcon has the ability to utilise GPS, lasers and total stations and switch between them easily, which makes a huge difference when it comes to projects like these that need precision, at speed.”

Survey rovers are used throughout the paving process to check as-built information. “We’re really using every bit of technology we have at our disposal for this job to give a great result in a limited amount of time,” Mr Connelly said.

This partner content is brought to you by Position Partners, find out more at www.positionpartners.com.au.

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