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The team has returned from the FSUK competition after a few very intense weeks, having done plenty of learning and having achieved new historical heights for our team. This was the first car and first competition for this year’s lineup and was an incredible and invaluable journey for our individual team members and the organisation as a whole.
The weeks leading up to the competition pushed our team members to the limit, operating as efficiently as we could to enable ourselves to reach testing before the competition after our project timeline had been delayed. We managed to successfully take the car to dyno tuning at Steve Walford motorsport in Birmingham, it was a great experience where the team learned a lot. Afterwards, we returned to our workshop and kept working for the next few weeks to finalise the car build. The car was complete and ready for testing on the Sunday before the competition.
Testing went surprisingly well, we were able to test the vehicle with 3 separate drivers, running almost continuously for 1.5 hours. The car was nimble and responded well to the driver's input. The only thing we found to be sub-optimal was our engine operation, the engine was not responding as well as we had it previously. We managed to book in a dyno tuning session the day before we were leaving for the competition.
A series of issues were discovered at our rolling road issues, but as the team dug deeper more problems appeared, with the session culminating in an unresponsive ECU and, hence, an unstable engine.
Due to the issues, we found we started considering going to Silverstone as a non-competitor, as this would have allowed us to effectively bank our car, giving us a year to just iron out issues on a car that we know had great potential. We left for Silverstone believing that we would pursue this path.
Along with project timeline changes we had to make technical changes to ensure that we have a running baseline vehicle that we can build on. One of the most considerable design changes that we had to make was going to a simplified electrical system, only having engine controls and the required safety circuitry integrated into the vehicle. Having the appropriate tooling and spares that we acquire with the help of the RS Grass Roots Fund proved invaluable for being flexible in a situation such as the one we found ourselves in. This enabled us to get to rolling road tuning and vehicle testing in time and in a reliable manner.
Arriving at the competition, we spent the first day believing that we would not be competing, just walking around and taking in the FSUK atmosphere. On day 2 of the competition, we started talking to some of the judges and we were convinced to participate in the competition anyway. We also got a lot of positive feedback on our car, which was undoubtedly nice to hear. So we decided to go for it!
We managed to get through 4/6 stages of scrutineering – further than any other team in the history of UoL Racing. In the end, we were unable to get the engine running and hence unable to pass the noise and brake tests.
Post competition & Future Plans
After the competition, the team took a bit of time to reflect and understand how we can improve for next year, as well as take a bit of time to rest and recover. However, the team is already back in action. We went on to investigate the root cause of the issues that held us back at the competition. And with the support of DIY-EFI – our ECU sponsor, we managed to get the engine back up and running which was music to our ears! In parallel, we’ve started hatching plans for next season and we’ve decided that doing as much testing as possible is going to be our first major objective. We are looking to learn how to run cars better and improve our reliability above and beyond.
We managed to lay a lot of groundwork for our control systems development this year, which will be continuing now. This will provide us with a lot of valuable data acquisition capability, making our testing all the more valuable.
A Fantastic Journey
Although this season was not ideal, it taught us an incredible amount about building and running a race car, as well as what it means to take part in FSUK. We believe we have laid the foundation for something great. All the things we achieved and the progress we’ve made could not be possible without all of our sponsors and supporters, we would like to extend a special thanks to RS and their Grass Roots Fund for providing us with their fantastic support!