Formula Student UK 2010 Silverstone: The Last Of It

July 24, 2010


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After the acceleration and skid-pan events in the morning, the afternoon was reserved for the Sprint event. Basically a one-lap sprint of the main course set out, standard 4 attempts, 2 drivers.

We made our way to the course and the first driver got ready. As we began to start the car it started to develop a screeching noise. A quick diagnostic by the engine team and it was clear that the one-way bearing for the starter was slipping. Major pain, we rushed back to the pits to regroup.

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We had 3 hours left to do the Sprint event and the engine had to come out, be repaired and put back in with time to spare for the runs, at the time it looked like an impossible feat but we started. The whole team came together and we worked flat out until it was done.
The odd design of this engine uses a starter that does not retract its cog, instead the engine when started simply overdrives the starter using a one-way bearing.

Two and half ours later and it was done, we rushed to the start to try and squeeze at least one run in just to record a time. As we only had time to do one run they put me in the drivers seat. Engine on and I blasted through it for the first time.

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I made a mistake on the lap and hit a few cones, the time was good but with the penalties our result was poor. Luckily the marshals gave us a second sprint even though the time was just over. So, with some knowledge of the track, I set out to do another run. Unfortunately we were plagued with more problems, the engine kept cutting out and it died on the last corner, the time would have been a good one, they said good enough for top 15. Nevermind.

We spent that evening doing some more work on the engine MAP to get it ready for the Endurance race on Sunday.
We thought we could do well in this as apart from the engine the car had been fairly reliable, we also did an endurance test last week.

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I started the Endurance event and drove a good clean 5 laps before, you guessed it, engine problems. The car slowly died and when I came to start it again, it could barely turn over. Either the alternator had gone or the car was overheating.

All things considered, we are all very happy with our performance. Apart from the engine the car performed excellently. We just need to address the engine and try to get it as reliable as possible.
Our end result was 35th, and for not finishing the endurance that’s pretty good.

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The last night and in fact all the nights were great. All the teams were camping and in the evenings the whole camp turned into a festival, but with the added atmosphere of people grinding away on cars. We broke in and walked the whole Silverstone GP track, took us one hour and a half, but well worth it.

All in all it was an amazing experience and I recommend it to anyone, the hard work and the good times at night simply make it. I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

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