FSAE USA 2006
RMIT racing has won the recent 2006 FSAE event held at Detroit on the 17-20th of May. The team held high expectations going into the event with the improved single cylinder concept after a strong showing at the Australasian FSAE competition in December 2005.
The Detroit Team consisted of Dean Cowling, Grant McPherson, Geoff Pearson, Jacob Rayner, Lee Mitchener, Brad Wischusen, Stuart Bajema, John Abakumenko and Jason Gray. After flying the car to the US the team found that some components had been damaged on the long trip. The team was able to quickly replace the parts and start their preparations.
The lead up to the event proved to be a damp one, however, drivers lapped up the opportunity to collect extra data and adapt to the revised R05 car. This data will be invaluable to the team for the future due to the lack of wet weather testing done by the team. On the Wednesday prior to the competition the team was forced to change engines due to troubles noticed in testing. The car was ready for the static events and passed with flying colours as well as the team making the design finals, putting them once again in a strong position in the competition before the dynamic events.
RMIT Racing stepped up to the plate in the endurance event, successfully completing it where many other teams suffered mechanical trouble and had to pull out. With the best endurance fuel economy score, the team performed faultlessly and won the Endurance event. The incredibly strong performance of RMIT over all the events meant that we came away with a clear win, second place went to Penn State University and third place to The University of Michigan-Ann Arbor.
The team would like to thank Oxford University for their assistance, our sponsors, all team members that contributed to the car and the officials that made the event possible.
RMIT Racing results:
Total score: 887.869 /1000
State University: 785.98
Thursday is typically the most difficult day of competition, and the Californian competition was no exception. With R05 still struggling to adapt to the American fuel, passing some of the Scrutineering tasks proved to be a major problem. The car sailed through technical inspection and tilt test, but ran into dramas during noise test. The engine was popping and crackling due to the tuning issues pushing the sound limit over the legal limit of 110 dB.
The engine tune was adjusted before the car was given the all clear. The brake test was also made difficult by the rough idle as the car continued to stall when the brakes were locked. The preliminary round of the Design Event went well for the team, making it through to the Semi-Finals scheduled for later in the day. With a mixture of experienced judges and many new faces, the quality of questions was still very impressive. The Cost & Presentation events also went very well, placing 8th and 6th respectively.
The Design Event Semi-Finals were much more relaxed than at previous competitions, and this was a welcome change following such a long day. The team went on to make the last three teams in the Finals scheduled for Saturday afternoon after the Endurance event.
Friday was the first day of dynamic events, a Skidpad and Acceleration events scheduled for the morning. With the California weather being a constant 40-45°C, it didn't take long for the track to get some temperature into it. Our Acceleration time wasn't as competitive as Detroit, but the team managed to place 2nd in the Skidpad event.
The Autocross was held in the afternoon and the tight track was expected to favour R05 shorter wheelbase and reduced mass. Suspension set-up hampered the team's efforts with corner-speed being greatly reduced by slight understeer. While the potential of the vehicle was not realised, the autocross time was sufficient for 6th place.
The final day of competition saw the Endurance Event run in the morning and the Design Event Finals in the afternoon. Due to strong finish in the Autocross, RMIT was the 6th car on track. Our engine issues were still being evident leading into the endurance event was a cause for concern. The first driving stint went smoothly, turning very respectable lap times. The restart during the driver change took a while, but R05 eventually fired back into life and headed back out for the second half of the event. The engine troubles continued when the engine died mid stint costing the team a valuable 45 seconds trying to refire the engine.
The extremely high ambient temperatures accentuated by the poor state of tune of the engine caused the engine to run hot forcing the drivers to short shift to keep the revs and the temperature down. Although this cost the team in lap times, they were able to finish the event. The overall time netted RMIT 10th and we placed 2nd in fuel economy for 7th place combined.
Knowing it was going to be a fight to the finish, the team went into design aiming to obtain as many points as possible. Although our car was the fastest of the three, the team struggled to produce the data to justify the design direction of the vehicle and ended up coming third to the teams fellow design finalists ETS and Auburn.
The award ceremony was held on site at the California Speedway later on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately there was a glitch in the calculation of points, and the results announced at the time were incorrect. The corrected results were announced post-competition. RMIT placed second overall, 32 points behind Texas A&M, and just 0.4 points in front of the University of Wollongong.
Although back-to-back wins would have been ideal, a second place finish in the inaugural FSAE west comp wasn't a bad way to finish an overseas campaign. RMIT Racing would like to once again thank our sponsors for the support and assistance that allowed the team to complete such a successful overseas.
Copyright © 2010 RMIT Racing - All Rights Reserved