During the winter of 2014, whilst the Australasian FSAE calendar is bare and most teams are focused on the design and build of their new cars, Monash Motorsport set out on a 6 week campaign to prove our M13 concept in Europe.
The decision to compete in Europe was built upon the success of our latest car, the M13, at the Australasian Competition in December. Europe is home to some of the most prestigious Formula Student competitions in the world, and success at the German and UK competitions would further validate our concept and engineering philosophies on a worldwide scale.
As exams ended and the departure date came closer, we were excited and nervous at the prospect of our campaign. Whilst the 36 travelling to Europe had an appreciation of what was to come, we were yet unaware of the unique experience it was to be.
The team competed in two competitions, Formula Student UK at Silverstone and Formula Student Germany at the Hockenheim Ring, the largest and most prestigious competitions in the world respectively.
The team performed fantastically well at Silverstone, with notable results being 7th in Cost and Design, a fantastic 3rd in Presentation, 3rd in Autocross, 2nd in Endurance and 1st in Skidpad. The team placed 5th overall, and won the Jaguar Land-Rover award for “Best Use of Virtual Methods to Achieve Vehicle Targets”.
At the Hockenheim Ring, the early running looked even more promising, with a 2nd in Cost, 4th in Design and 5th in Presentation meaning Monash Motorsport was leading the competition after Statics. The excellent performance continued into the Dynamic events, with a 2nd in Skidpad and 6th in Autocross placing us well heading into Endurance.
Unfortunately, on our final lap of the 22km event, the car slowed to a halt and had to be evacuated when the exhaust emitted smoke upon restarting. The subsequent DNF in Endurance meant that the team placed 19th, 700m short of a 2nd place finish at Formula Student Germany.
To have come so far and come so close was a bitter pill to swallow, and some tears were shed at the side of the track. However, we have nothing but pride in our performances in Europe.
Our vision as a team is to be the most respected FSAE team in the world. Our campaign was a successful step towards that goal. We gained respect in the way we interacted with other teams openly and honestly, we gained respect with the assistance we gave to surrounding teams, we gained respect with from the well-founded engineering and pace of our car. Our final result in Germany has provided us with many lessons to learn from and we look forward to moving forward from the experience to future successes.
Moving an entire team to Europe does not happen simply and the team would like to thank the many people who helped make this trip possible. In particular, Warwick University, our partners in the Alliance, for their support in the UK whilst the team was finding their feet, TU Munich for hosting our team in Germany and for becoming such good friends, our sponsors for their work both in the construction and transportation of the car to Europe and, lastly, to our families, for their enduring understanding and support of our team.
With the team now back in Australia, all focus is upon construction of our new car, the M14, for competition at the Australasian Competition in December. The competition looks set to be one of the most competitive in recent memory and we look forward to representing our sponsors, university and team in a few months.