The design of M15 started last year with the release of 2015 FSAE rules, which drastically changed the parameters to which we have to design the car. Some of the biggest changes include: a reduction in aerodynamic packaging space, changes in forced induction (turbo) regulations, and rules governing the design of the primary chassis structures. Towards the end of the 2014 we had a concept formed for the new car. Even though the aerodynamic package of the car was going to have to be smaller and than previous cars we still found that it was going to improve the performance of the car. We re-assessed the powertrain package and concluded that a turbocharged single cylinder KTM engine, would be the best option for it’s good balance of weight, power and efficiency. Another system that we have re-evaluated is the DRS system, this year we’ve determined that with the new aero package there is not enough of an aerodynamic benefit to offset the mass penalty, and will be omitted from the M15 car. This year, we are also developing a carbon fiber monocoque for our 2016 Europe campaign, in conjunction with a steel, tubular space-frame that we’ll be competing with in the Australasian FSAE competition.
The design process of M15
In early January the design period started in earnest, with the return of the team after the Christmas break. The team is composed of four different sections: Chassis, Suspension, Powertrain and Aerodynamics. and within each section parts were divided up between the section members, so each person had their own part or parts to work on over the following 2 – 3 months. One of the biggest challenges for the design period is to integrate all the various systems on the car so that all the components of the car work together to achieve our overall concept.
The design period is broken up into three phases, research and concepts, preliminary design, final design. After each phase we held a review where all the designs were presented, to the rest of the team and a number of alumni for critique. It’s an integral part of our design process since we can use the collective knowledge of current and past team members to improve our designs. Even though it is in intimidating prospect to be critiqued by one’s peers, improvements in the designs can be clearly seen as a result.
Now that the design period is finished, we are now into our outsourcing and manufacturing phase. Currently we have the engine on the dynamometer, composite testing and the steel space frame and wishbone manufacture well underway. We have also recently welcomed a new batch of Junior team members who and keen and raring to help manufacture. We are looking forward to a busy and exciting manufacturing phase for the next few months.
-Cam Warne, Chief Engineer 2015