FSTU USA 2008
RMIT Racing FISITA 2008 Campaign - A Lead Up to Competition Weekend...
14 - 18 MAY 2008
With the FISITA World Championship set to take place over the the weekend of 14 - 18 May, 2008, the RMIT Racing Team spent the most part of a month in the U.S. preparing and testing the R07 Challenger in order to arrive at the event in the best possible position to retain its crown.
After working hard to organise and prepare for the event at the RMIT Bundoora East Campus, the team was relived to hear that the crate housing the R07 Challenger arrived safely and soundly on U.S. soil. Fortunately the crate arrived in the same condition with which it left RMIT Bundoora East Campus and this gave them team great confidence ahead of assembling it back together. Arriving in time to meet the crate, the first group of team members landed safely in Oakland on the 30th of April.
After getting accustomed to driving on the opposite side of the road, eating extremely fatty burgers and drinking gallon soda’s, it was time to get stuck into the assembly of the R07 Race Car. The team worked considerably hard and in turn had the car fully assembled and testing in less than four days. Despite some initial teething problems experienced early on in the testing phase, the team worked particularly hard to overcome such problems and as a result experienced quite a successful week of testing ahead of the competition. The problems were most notably during the initial U.S. shakedown after arrival, with a lack of brake line pressure causing an initial hassle. Once overcome however, the desired testing of the available fuel as well as the running in of a new set of brake pads and discs were able to be performed.
Soon after the car was running smoothly, the team began the vital set up testing. With a change in track surface conditions from what the team had been used to, the suspension changes would prove a vital ingredient if the team were to do well at the event. The large open spaces at Oakland proved to be particularly handy with regards to getting all of the drivers up to speed and happy with the set up of the car before what was sure to be an ultra competitive weekend. After a couple of days testing and fine tuning, both the Endurance drivers, Steven and Lee, were happy with the way the car was handling.
With so much happening in a short space of time, the first group of team members were relived with the safe arrival of the second group on the 9th of May. This gave the team ample resources with which to get the car up and running well and rectify any final issues. It also gave the team ample time to make any final adjustments to suit the change in weather conditions. In contrast to hot summery days during a normal Australian December, the weather remained cool and often raining meaning that arriving early allowed time to acclimatise to the change in conditions.
After testing had been tapered down, the team decided to do one final endurance run in dry conditions (Monday 12 May, 2008). The test was successful; not only did the car perform well and reliably, but the drivers were able to adapt to a new track quite easily. Teams from Helsenki, Joanium, and Colarado were also there testing the track and this gave RMIT Racing a good indication of where they would be in relation to other competing teams.
With the majority of the dynamic testing out of the way, Tuesday 13 May, 2008 was set aside for the team to finish any final design, cost and presentation refinements. As well as that, the team worked hard on setting up the car with the final touches ahead of competition. By the end of the day, the R07 Challenger had new panel work, new stickers, a quick clean up, re lubrication of all components and fresh engine oil. At was at this point that the R07 Challenger was packed up and ready to be transported to the Michigan International Speedway for the competition commencing on Wednesday 14 May, 2008.
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