In the first part of our exciting account of the Formula Student competition weekend, Team Leader Harry McVicar left us in suspense as to whether the amendments to the car on the Friday would pass scrutineering…
‘The air was thick with trepidation on Saturday morning as the team waited for scrutineering to open. They needn’t have worried, as within 2 minutes, the repair was approved and the car was pushed back to the brake test, where skidpad driver Charlie Photiou was strapped in. With the first 2 dynamic events ending at 12.30, the team was in for a hectic morning. After several attempts however, the car would still not stop properly, so was once again wheeled back to the garage an investigation. The issue had been that the rear wheels were not locking as intended, however it was discovered, thanks to the keen eye of team patron Gerry Hulford, that it was in fact an issue with the front brakes that was causing this, and re-bleeding them of air was all that was needed. So it was back to the brake test, and finally after 3 runs, the team was through!
This left the team with just 45 minutes to get through the first 2 dynamic events of the competition, the Skid pad and the Acceleration. So with Charlie still strapped in we rolled to the Skid pad, as it had the shortest queue. He put down a respectable time of 5.6 seconds, which was on par with what the car could achieve (giving us 7.2 points), and was taken directly to the start line of the acceleration test. His times of 5.3 and 6.2 seconds were way off the expected speed of the car, but at this point we realized that we had not yet freed up the exhaust from the baffling that had got it through the noise test so easily. So with a quick drop into the pits and a very hot exhaust de-restrict, the car was back in the queue behind 3 other cars, this time with Anthony Chan at the wheel. Sadly, it was not to be as the clock struck 12.30 before the team had the chance to run again, meaning the 9.2 points from the earlier run would have to suffice.
At least this meant that the pressure was finally coming off, so after an extended lunch break, a few alterations where made to the car and Harry McVicar and Alexander Bartlett race-suited up for their attempts at the afternoon’s Sprint event. Harry ran first putting in a best time of 64.3 seconds, and Alex put in a best time of 65.1 seconds, gaining the team 39.3 points in the process and putting them in good stead for the main Sunday event, a 22km endurance event in which they would have to share the driving. At the end of the day, spirits were high as the team had renewed faith in the strength of the car whilst there were reports going round that we were sitting “20 something” overall.
Sunday broke with a small amount of confusion over when the car would be starting the endurance, with the only information saying that they would be starting 14th, with no word on timings and the threat of a penalty for being late. So as quickly as possible, first driver Alex was put in the car, rolled to the fuel station and then into the start queue, where it was learned that some 10 cars had already failed to either start or finish their runs, making them technically late, but not penalized. We held our breath as Alex set off for his 11 lap stint, but it soon became clear that the car was back to its solid, reliable best, allowing him to follow the race strategy down to a T, with 7 fast laps, followed by 4 slower ones to get the engine cool for the driver change. He pulled in, and 3 minutes later the car was back out on track with Harry at the wheel, with the sole duty of getting the car to the finish line. 4 yellow flags (for other cars “expiring” on track) and one tense overtake later, in which a marshal panicked and waved an “all clear” flag too early, causing a following car to do an emergency stop, TS-15 rolled faultlessly across the finish line. Success! And all in a time of 1868 seconds, using just 4.1 litres of fuel.
These results gained the team 134.2 and 44.1 points respectively, giving a total of 368.5 points for the whole competition. It was not until late on in the drive home that the final finishing positions were announced, but when the team heard their result, we were overwhelmed. 28th overall and 9th in the UK was higher than any of us had hoped for, and given the trials and tribulations of the weekend, felt fantastically well deserved.
So in the end, Mobil 1 Team Sussex 2015 earned the most points, achieved the highest overall position, and the highest UK position of any Team Sussex. A fantastic year was had by all – and the smiles haven’t stopped yet!
The most important thing for the team to do now is to build on this success and use this opportunity to make Mobil 1 Team Sussex a real challenger in Formula Student UK. Given Class 2’s successes this year, we have every faith in them and wish them the best of luck in 2016.’
Thank you to Harry McVicar and the rest of the Team for their account of the stresses, trials and tribulations of the weekend and congratulations to them all too – as they have now graduated!
(images via Malcolm Tam)