July 21, 2012

After rushing completion of CR08 we headed to Silverstone having completed not a metre of testing. Ridiculously risky given the sheer amount of new components on this year’s car. Despite the potential of CR08, the odds would not be on our side, especially when the weather was supposed to be incredibly wet and Hoosier had ran out of moulded wets by the time we came to order some. The other teams had clearly taken precautions and we lost out. Very fortunately the weather was surprising good for the Sprint and Endurance events.

We encountered numerous problems while getting the engine started as no-where-near sufficient testing had been performed since the new intake plenum and exhaust design had been implemented. This meant we missed a good part of Saturday morning trying to pass the brake test for scrutineering, which resulted in us missing the Acceleration and Skid Pan events. On top of the engine issues, the brake balance and system itself caused some problems as one of the front brake lines actually blew out while performing the test (at 3:30):

The solenoid shifter was already causing issues at this stage, but during our first Sprint run, as I came to select third gear, nothing happened. The Sprint event was the first actual dynamic event we were able to compete in, but doing both runs in 1 gear was awful. The quickest time in the end was good enough for roughly 30th. The car’s handling felt improved over previous year’s car, particularly in the turn-in phase. It was on rails right up to the point when the car entered the steady-state phase, then the spool induced quite a bit of understeer; given the small amount of time in steady-state cornering it wasn’t a big issue. We predicted we could have done a top 10 lap time with a fully functioning shifter, but easier said than done.

On the Sunday the Endurance events took place, and given our poor time the day earlier, we would be starting late morning. This meant we would have restricted time to revert back to a mechanical paddle shift. After ripping out the rubbish electronic Flatshifter and fabricating a few make-shift brackets, the old mechanical unit was mounted and working perfectly. We were a lot more confident after we also got the engine running a lot more reliably.

But, after 1 single lap of the endurance the car completely died. The main kill switch fuse had burnt out and the alternator had also been mistakenly disconnected. Stupid mistakes made by team members frantically getting the car ready.

There really wasn’t much to celebrate, but I’ve enjoyed my time competing in Formula Student and confident next year the team will have better chances given the incredible potential in CR08.

Now enjoy some more reliable competitor cars:

Including the FS UK 2012 winners: Chalmers.