BBi Autosport Races Ahead With Autodesk Fusion 360

One bit of popular career advice is to think about what you liked to play as a child and try to pursue something similar. Betim Berisha is the perfect example

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Written by: Autodesk

(Image courtesy of BBi Autosport.)

(Image courtesy of BBi Autosport.)

One bit of popular career advice is to think about what you liked to play as a child and try to pursue something similar. Betim Berisha is the perfect example—his encounter with a Porsche at the age of eight never left him.

“One afternoon when my cousin and I were playing outside, we spotted a stunning Porsche 959 drive by,” says Berisha, founder and CEO, BBi Autosport. “It was the very same car on my cousin’s favorite poster up on his wall. We later found out the driver behind the wheel was Bill Gates!”

The sighting of the supercar—one of only 292 ever built—would give birth to a lifelong obsession with Porsches that would only intensify with age, culminating in Berisha founding BBi Autosport in 2005.

BBi is an automotive tuning company that specializes in Porsches. They have a tremendously wide array of clients and work, from tuning and customization all the way to consumer parts and bespoke cars. Working closely with CTO Dmitriy Orlov, Berisha is pushing new boundaries for the Porsche industry and community.

But as anyone in product design, engineering and manufacturing knows: Sometimes things go wrong. That certainly was the case when BBi undertook one of their most ambitious projects—a custom Porsche for driver Ken Block of Hoonigan to race at the 100th anniversary of Pikes Peak International Hill Climb competition.

Building the Hoonipigasus: “A mid-engine, methanol breathing, 1,400 horsepower, all-wheel drive beast”

The Pikes Peak International Raceway is an incredibly prestigious—yet daunting—course in Colorado Springs. It’s one of the most challenging hill climbs in the world, starting at 9,000 feet and climbing all the way to the finish line at the summit of 14,100 feet. It is 12.42 miles long with 156 turns, including 13 hairpin turns. There are thousand-foot drops with no guardrails and speeds up to 160 miles an hour. Yes, it’s that crazy.

For months, the BBi team worked tirelessly to bring the design of the Hoonipigasus (fondly known as “The Pig”) to life for the big race. Berisha describes it as a “mid-engine, methanol breathing, 1,400 horsepower, all-wheel drive beast.”

(Image courtesy of BBi Autosport.)

(Image courtesy of BBi Autosport.)

After using Autodesk Fusion 360 for quite a while in the shop, this was the first time they would use it to design and build a complete car from scratch. With a mere 0.04mm margin of error for their measurements, the team had to factor in every aspect of every part to line up with precise accuracy to bring their vision to life under an incredibly tight deadline. 

“We ended up building the Pig from the ground up—from concept to design to manufacture—in just four and a half months during the pandemic and the worst supply chain crisis I’ve ever seen,” Berisha says. “The car started life as an idea and a pile of tubes on the ground. The roof is the only original Porsche part left. Everything else is bespoke. Fusion 360 enabled us to move seamlessly through every stage in our development process, whether we were designing an engine, chassis or even the smallest component.”

Using Fusion 360 as their cloud-based, integrated CAD/CAM solution allowed the BBi team to develop products concurrently, collaborate easily with multiple stakeholders and bring all their aggregated data into one centralized location. Tools like generative design enabled them to run flow analysis to generate recommended outputs. They then used this data to design parts manufactured to their desired specifications.

(Image courtesy of BBi Autosport.)

(Image courtesy of BBi Autosport.)

“Fusion 360 allowed Dmitriy to bring all of our aggregated data into one centralized location,” Berisha says. “We could then all design and build in parallel by prioritizing tasks based on their lead times. For example, making molds and tooling for bodywork was our first priority because it would have the longest lead time.”

Collaborating on the cloud turned the chaos into organized chaos. Fusion 360 enabled us to design, validate, build and get straight to the racetrack very quickly,” he continues.

A Fateful Day on the Track

When The Pig was finished and on site at Pikes Peak, the car was “on a tear” as Berisha describes it. But they heard a strange tick coming from the engine. After a night of stripping down the engine to fix it, they heard that same tick—but now on the other side of the engine. Then the engine blew, and their race was finished. After months of design and manufacturing, it came down to one valve shim that is the size of a hearing-aid battery.

“It’s hard to believe that such a small part can derail such a massive operation,” Berisha says. “But when you’re working through such tight tolerances and deadlines and pushing performance to such extreme levels like we are, outcomes are never predictable.”

But this unfortunate experience isn’t holding the BBi team back. If anything, it’s driving them to a new level of passion, commitment and dedication to get back to the mountain next year and conquer it.

(Image courtesy of BBi Autosport.)

(Image courtesy of BBi Autosport.)

Growing the Business

In the meantime, things aren’t slowing down at BBi Autosport. They continue to design new Porsche parts and custom builds every day with Fusion 360 and the advantages of 3D modeling.

“Fusion 360 was a no-brainer choice for us because scan data is pretty much the first step in any project that we take on,” Orlov says. “It gives you a 3D image that you can start building from—be it an engine or a chassis or even just a simple part. You have a digital copy of it and then bring it into Fusion 360, which just works so beautifully with that kind of data. With almost a click of a button, we can go to the manufacturing side of it, and I can throw it on the CNC machine and crank out a prototype.”

By taking their motorsport methodology and applying it to consumer part design, BBi also provides consumers with parts that are as high quality as the ones on the track. Even better, they are at a reasonable price point.

“Out of all the tools we have in our toolbox, Autodesk products help us level the playing field against the factory and other big motorsports organizations that compete at some of the highest levels in the industry,” he continues. “Thanks to tools like Fusion 360, we have access to cutting-edge design and manufacturing solutions that enable us to build record-setting cars and high-quality consumer parts.”

Best of all? Everyday Berisha is surrounded by Porsches—tinkering and helping bring innovative designs and capabilities to life. It’s a childhood dream come true. In fact, he had a full circle moment back in August while attending Monterey Car Week. He spotted a beautiful silver Porsche 959, and it turns out that the owner bought it from Bill Gates—the same car he saw back when he was eight years old.

“I got the chills, and I still get them whenever I think about it,” Berisha says. “Here I am as an adult standing next to the car that changed my life. A physical reminder of why I do what I do and why I have dedicated my life to this industry.”

To learn more, visit Autodesk.