After several busy weeks following the end of Semester Two and plenty of anticipation by veteran and junior Monash Motorsport team members alike, Formula SAE-A 2016 was finally upon us! To meet our rigorous testing schedule of 300km over two weeks, the team had been split into a daytime ‘testing’ crew, and an overnight ‘maintenance’ crew in order to be as efficient and effective as possible.

On Thursday the 8th, the team made an early start, arriving at Calder Park Raceway at 7am. Once we were through the gates, we quickly got our pits set up and were the first in line for technical inspection. Luckily, we were able to pass through tech inspection and driver egress with few issues, leaving the rest of our Thursday afternoon free to practice for the static events the following day.

Our Friday schedule began with Business Presentation at 10am, Cost Event following closely at 10:40am, and then Design Event in the afternoon at 3pm. While half the team focused on these events, the other half worked to get the car through the rest of scrutineering; which involved passing the tilt test, noise test, and brake test before the car was allowed out on the practice track. A dirty brake pad resulted in a few failed attempts at brake before the car successfully passed through all three tests.

Following both the morning statics, and the remainder of scrutineering, the team settled in for a brief lunch before sneaking in a few practice runs on the track prior to Design Event. This specific event was particularly special in light of having revered Formula One aerodynamicist Willem Toet as the guest judge for the Aerodynamics section of the event. We had been privileged enough to hear Willem speak about his inspiring career and phenomenal achievements just a few weeks earlier (you can read about the event here). Design Event concluded an excellent statics day, and the team left the pits optimistic about the dynamic events scheduled for the following couple of days.

Overall Monash Motorsport proved to be a strong contender across the static board placing 1st in Business Presentation, 2nd in Design Event and 3rd in Cost Event.

Saturday brought with it the first of the dynamic events in Skidpad, Acceleration, and Autocross. After a brief run on the practice track to check everything was satisfactory to compete, the car headed for the distinct figure-eight skidpad track. The car set a best time of 5.074s around the skidpad loops which placed us firmly in second place, one 1000th of a second behind our friends at Canterbury University. On a tight schedule and wasting no time, the team headed to the Acceleration event to begin posting times. Unfortunately, shifting issues meant that we weren’t able to get the times we were expecting or hoping for. Nonetheless, our acceleration driver, Paul adapted to the situation well drawing on his experiences competing in Europe earlier in the year and was able to set a best time of 4.647s – placing us somewhere in the middle of the competition.

Before the last event of the day, the result of which would determine our placing in the Endurance event on Sunday, the team worked quickly and diligently to diagnose some clutch issues but they unfortunately persisted throughout the afternoon. Combined with incorrect front tyre pressures due to rushed checks, the car was again not able to perform at its full potential. Thanks to some courageous driving and help from the cheers of Monash Motorsport supporters atop the hill, we were still able to clock a respectable time of 83.994s securing 6th place in the Autocross event.

The team woke up to a delightfully sunny Sunday morning, ready to tackle the most anticipated event of the competition, Endurance. An early practice track run assured us that the shifting issues had been rectified, and we made our way to the hot area for the morning Endurance session. Our senior driver and 2015 Chief Engineer, Cameron Warne was able to set the fastest lap of the session and complete a full endurance. Positive feedback about the drivability and responsiveness of the car gave our second session drivers the confidence to push the car to its limits in an aim to post some faster lap times and a quicker overall time. Whilst being one of the fastest cars on track during the second Endurance Event session that afternoon, a high-speed cone hit caused detrimental bodywork damage. This ultimately resulted in the right hand side pod detaching from its secured position and hitting the kill switch. The team watched on as the car came to a stop on track, ending our second Endurance attempt. Having not been able to complete a quicker second run, Monash Motorsport finished in 8th place in the Endurance Event.

The team is proud to announce Monash Motorsport placed 2nd in Combustion and 3rd Overall in our fourth and last competition of the year, Formula SAE-A. We would like to extend a massive congratulations to the very deserving and inspiring winners of FSAE-A 2016, University of Wollongong!

Of course, a big thank you is in order to FSAE for organising yet another wonderful weekend and fantastic Australasian competition. It was inspiring to see so many successful, competitive international teams and we are so excited to see what everyone brings to the table in 2017. Our gratitude extends further to our invaluable Platinum sponsors, without whom none of what we achieve could be possible. To KTM Australia, Laser 3D, CSIRO Lab 22, Marand, Harrop Engineering, MDK | Wirawaji, Form A Sign, ZF Group, PhoenxPLM and of course, Monash University; thank you for your generosity and continued support.

Monash Motorsport would also like to take this opportunity to thank all of our valued sponsors, industry partners, family, friends and everyone around the world who has followed our journey and supported us over this past year. It has been a challenging one, with the team having to overcome more adversity and find more strength and resilience within itself than ever before. As a result of this, we enter 2017 with the utmost determination, motivation and inspiration for the coming year. We can’t wait to see you again at Formula SAE-A 2017: One team, two cars.

 

Official Results:

Overall: 3rd

Overall Internal Combustion: 2nd

Business Presentation: 1st

Cost Event: 3rd

Engineering Design Event: 2nd

Acceleration: 12th

Endurance: 8th

Efficiency: 7th

Autocross: 6th

Skidpad: 2nd

 

– Connor Tilbrook (Suspension)