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AR3 is Aston Racing's latest entry into the Formula Student Competition, building on almost two decades of internal combustion vehicle development. Despite being an amazing engineering achievement like all our cars AR3 is of extra importance as it is the last internal combustion car scheduled to be developed by Aston.
Electric vehicles are undeniably the future of not only motorsport but also transportation overall. This is a trend observed not only by the international automotive companies but also on a smaller scale here at Formula Student. In recent years the number of electric vehicles entering the competition has increased dramatically and for good reason. The performance improvements these vehicles can bring are evidenced by the University of Glasgow's victory this year at Silverstone.
The development of electric vehicles is a significant undertaking however and this became immediately apparent when the research was being undertaken into the project. So Aston Racing decided to lay the groundwork for electric cars in 2022 by developing a concept car alongside the usual Internal Combustion development of AR3. The team hopes that the work completed this year will provide an excellent basis for the 2023 competition and allow the team to develop a strong electric contender to unveil at Silverstone.
But enough about the future, AR3 builds on the learnings of Covid and AR2.5 our 2021 car to build a strong race platform. Optimisations of key areas in the AR2.5 car were undertaken to develop a strong car without 'reinventing the wheel'. One of these areas was the chassis which was developed with a solid aluminium rear bulkhead to allow for far easier engine access and overall reduced weight. Despite the reduced weight AR3's chassis is actually slightly stiffer than that of AR2.5, which was verified with careful FEA analysis within Ansys. Through the generous support of Amada UK, the team was able to get our tubular chassis beams cut and profiled by a tubular laser cutter making AR3's chassis far easier to weld together than the team's previous chassis. It was only with the use of Amada's laser cutters and press brakes that our rear bulkhead could have been created so the team would like to thank their generous support.
AR3 also sees a new rear-drive sprocket to give us an increased acceleration, plus a 'down the side' exhaust pipe to allow for better rear packing. The exhaust pipe location along with the better-optimised chassis allowed the team to have a new fuel tank placement in the rear of the car for increased capacity and easier access. These optimisations extend to the pedal box and intake all designed to improve performance and assembly.
As is often the case, setbacks and delays did make their appearance this year, but despite these, the team was able to push through and make it to Silverstone with AR3. Unfortunately, a couple of key issues with the BSPD kill switch and the brakes prevented the car from completing scrutineering. Although unfortunate, the team is fully aware of their achievements and knows that if these issues could have been overcome AR3 would have been a strong contender. Despite the successes of 2022, Aston Racing recognises the challenges it will face with the EV development for 2023. Alongside this, the team plans to focus its management and have an increased focus on the static and business events. The team would like to thank all of our sponsors and everyone with the university who assists the team, as without all of your help none of this would be possible.