Success at Silverstone!
What an incredible week at Silverstone and Formula Student! We would like to thank all teams for friendly and helpful spirits in the pits and on the track. It was amazing to see the cars and teams you have built! We took 8th place out of 97 teams from all over the world. Continue reading for an extensive report from our week at Silverstone.
We arrived at Silverstone Tuesday and waited for our fully loaded Volvo truck to arrive with KOG Arctos R and our equipment. After setting up camp we had time for some final adjustments to the car before getting some sleep. Wednesday morning we unloaded the truck in the former Formula 1 pits on Silverstone. It was a special feeling to finally be here after a year of hard work!
We rolled out our car and headed straight for scrutineering, a thorough technical inspection where the organizers check that everything is according to rules and safety regulations. As one of the first cars we passed electrical inspection in just a few hours, and continued straight to mechanical inspection. When Thursday came to an end, we had passed almost all required inspections. It is an advantage to spend as little time in scrutineering as possible, as this gives you more time to test and optimize before the races.
On Friday morning we passed the two remaining inspections: Brake test and rain test, and we were officially ready to race! The brake test checks that the brakes are configured properly and are able to lock the wheels, and at the same time stop the car within a designated area. In the rain test they simulate heavy rain to check that there’s no risk of short circuit or shock hazard if the car is soaking wet.
Friday was also the day for all static events, which accounts for about a third of the final score. We had our design presentation, where we have to defend our design choices. Not design as in aesthetics, but our reasoning behind choice of solutions, materials and production processes. The feedback from the judges was very good, and we ended up in 7th place in the design event.
Next up was the cost presentation, where we present a 250 page report on the cost associated with all materials and processes used. The cost report is like a recipe for building the car, with all the ingredients and steps. The final event on Friday was the business presentation, where we presented a business proposal for a hypothetical scenario where we are to mass produce and market our car.
After good results on Friday, we were ready for some racing Saturday morning! First was the acceleration event, where the the time from a standstill to 75 meters is measured. We set a time of 4.04 seconds, enough to secure 5th place!
After a quick pit stop to change our aero setup we were ready for skid pad, where the grip of the car is tested by driving as fast as possible in a track shaped as a figure 8. Our driver Fredrik put in a good time of 5.04 seconds, placing us in top 5 for this event as well! There was no doubt both car and drivers were in top shape.
Next up was sprint, an approximately 1 km long autocross track. You get two tries with two different drivers, best lap time wins. We set solid times and ended up in 7th place overall for sprint.
After great results on Saturday we were excited for Sunday and the endurance event, a 2 km race where both the total time and energy efficiency is measured. Endurance counts for over 30% of the final score, so nothing is decided before endurance is completed. With dark skies over the track you could feel the excitement in the air. A rain shower would force us to change tires and race under considerably worse conditions than the teams that raced earlier in the day when the track was dry. And when it comes to weather there’s no handicap. Luckily, as we were waved on to the track was still dry and the weather held up throughout the race. After some solid driving by our driver Ole Edvard it was time for the driver change. A driver change halfway is required, and is an attempt to lessen the advantage of having a great driver.
Shortly after our second driver Henrik headed out it happened. As the Arctos flew past we glimpsed a red light on the dashboard. We were low on power with six laps to go! The wireless telemetry data told the same story. We were not sure the battery would last the race. The capacity of the battery is obviously carefully calculated, but it is a delicate balance. A too large battery means unnecessary weight and a slow car, a too small battery means you don’t cross the finish line. Our driver Henrik slowed down to save power, and to our relief he crossed the finish line! Not only did we finish, but we ended up being the best electrical car on the endurance event!
With the last event completed an amazing week at Silverstone had come to an end. We ended up in 8th place out of 97 teams, and are waiting for a clarification which may bump us up to 6th place. We are very happy with our results, especially considering this year was the third time we were participating and our first electric car. In just three years we are among the top competitors!
We would like to thank all our sponsor who made it possible!
– Revolve NTNU, Team 2014