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TBR22: The final TBR combustion car
As this year marks the final year of Team Bath Racing competing within Formula Student, it was our goal to combine all of the knowledge gathered within our 22 years of competition to produce a car worthy of the team’s legacy. This work culminated in the design of TBR22: a lightweight, slick, and powerful car built around the philosophy of prioritising reliability whilst removing all extraneous mass.
As per usual for team bath racing, TBR22 has been developed entirely from scratch in the past 18 months, with build commencing in February of 2022. This included the design of a new chassis laminate to produce our lightest ever monocoque, and a new aerodynamic package focusing on tire wake management whilst minimising drag and overall system mass. To capitalise on this reduced mass, the vehicle dynamics and powertrain of the vehicle were also reworked, focusing again on low mass and high end performance on the track. This combined to produce the lightest ever TBR car with an aero package, weighing in at a phenomenal 156 kg.
Journey to FSUK
The team’s journey to Silverstone started at FSUK 2021, where the team was able to sit down with competition judges to clarify rules within the context of our plans for the year. Once this had been completed the team was then able to begin turning this concept into reality, beginning with chassis laminate design and SES completion.
Once our SES was approved the team could then move on to the manufacture of our monocoque, which was done entirely by team members and student volunteers at the university of bath. Alongside this, our previous car (TBR21) was tested extensively by the vehicle dynamics team to validate suspension load simulations before the manufacture of the new suspension geometry. The powertrain and electronics were then added to our newly completed rolling chassis, allowing for the first test of TBR22 to begin on May 26th, 2022. A rigorous test schedule followed in the weeks ahead, ironing out bugs and improving the reliability of the car, which took place alongside aerodynamics manufacture in the lead-up to Silverstone.
Research and Development
Thanks to the support from the RS Grass Roots Grant TBR received this year, the team has been able to continue its research into the design of formula student vehicles, with this year’s endeavours including:
- Wishbone and wheel stress testing
- Spring Damper calibration performed in collaboration with Multimatic DSSC
- Chassis torsional stiffness testing
- Powertrain performance 1D simulation, including intake pressure wave propagation studies
- Cooling system modelling and optimisation
- Extensive dynamometer engine calibration
Within formula student, teams shall always find limitations on the final car produced. This is no different for team bath racing, and these limitations are often exacerbated by our mission to design a new car each year. For TBR22, these limitations manifested in 3 key areas: a shortage of funding, shortage of development time, and shortage of manpower. The shortage of development time was a key factor in the build of the car, as it reduced the level of testing able to be completed, opening the team up to the risk of bugs in the car once it reached competition.
FSUK 2022 and beyond
FSUK 2022 marked the first public viewing of TBR22, with the car turning heads from day one in the paddocks. However, to achieve victory out on the track, the team would first have to complete scrutineering. The judges demanded perfection at every stage of the scrutineering process, with progress through static stages taking hours at a time. By the time the Saturday had rolled around, and dynamic events had just begun, TBR found itself in the final stages of scrutineering with the chance to compete on the track in sight. Only the brake test remained, and as one of the load cases we had tested the most in the lead-up to the event, we were confident in the car's ability to perform. However, fate would not be so kind, with a major chassis insert failure occurring during the brake test, crippling the car, and ending any chances of the team being victorious.
Following on from this low moment, the team rallied together to get the car back in the pits and create a plan for getting the car running again. With it becoming apparent that no repairs would get the car back in working condition to compete at Silverstone, the team chose to withdraw from the competition and begin repairs on the car as soon as possible. Devising a test plan with the input of FS judges and alumni, the team was able to have the car fully repaired within a week. The car was then tested extensively, before beginning the EU tour to Austria and Hungary. Competing at FSA, the car put in an impressive showing, achieving 5th place in skid pad helped in no small part by its low mass and tuned steering system. Further to this, TBR was able to claim 1st prize in the cost and manufacturing event, helped in no small part by the team including a thorough analysis of the repairs done on the car in anticipation of the event.
Following on from Austria, the team plans to compete at FS East in Budapest from the 8th to 12th of August, with development in the meantime focusing on ironing out final reliability issues with the car and giving drivers additional practice driving the car. Following on from this, the team shall be saying one final goodbye to the car before calling the 22 years the team has been competing to a close. We would like to thank all of our alumni for their hard work over the last few years, as well as RS Grass Roots for supporting us to make this last year one to remember.