Silverstone 2012

After two years of hard work and some intense last couple of weeks, the Formula Student competition at Silverstone was finally here.

We arrived at the campsite on the evening of July 10th. While the rain was poring down, the team of 32 eager and excited members all participated in setting up the tents before going to sleep for the first time at the Revolve Campsite. Wednesday was spent setting up the pit area as well as making some improvements on KA Borealis R. On Thursday, the team as well as the car was ready for scrutineering. This is where several judges go through every little part of the vehicle and thereby decide if the car will be approved for dynamic tests. KA Borealis R passed the scrutineering in only two hours, with absolutely no notes of improvement. That is a really short time as well as most teams, especially first year teams get many notes of improvements before they can try to pass the scrutineering again. So it is safe to say that it was a small milestone for us, just passing the scrutineering.

After the scrutineering, we literally ran to the area for design judging. At the design judging, a couple of judges go through the car taking the design into account. We got so much positive feedback from the judges that we were absolutely speechless from their feedback. They were stunned by the fact that we were a first year team, and could not stop complementing the car. 


While these tests found place, we also had a business presentation and cost event. Team members in front of multiple judges performed both these events. The results from the business presentation were a bit better than the cost event, giving us respectively 24th and 54th place, but we were satisfied with both results since we had no idea what the question rounds would bring.

On Friday, we only had noise test and brake test. The requirements on the noise test are that it cannot exceed 110 dBs’. On the first try we had 116dB. We heard on the motor sound that something was not right, and could almost not recognize the sound of our own engine.  This was solved when we suddenly spotted a broken conduction, and the noise test was passed. After on, we took the break test, which was easily passed.  The rest of the day was spent testing the KA Borealis R and preparing for the dynamic tests on Saturday.

 

Saturday started early with preparations in the pit before running of to the skid pad. Both skid pad and acceleration test was open between 09.00 and 12.30. The teams are not given any time to compete, the only rule in these two were first come first served. The weather was typically British weather with rain and heavy clouds. We didn´t want to risk losing any time waiting for the weather to improve and hoping for dry tarmac. We were one of the first cars out on the skid pad area, and we were pleased with the results from the first round. Both skid pad and acceleration was to be performed twice by two different drivers giving a total of four performances. After two attempts, we went straight to acceleration test. The tarmac was still wet and the rain was poring down. Kristoffer was the first driver for the acceleration test. He had some trouble both times he drove. Either time he could get the gear higher than the second gear. From there we stormed into the pit trying to figure out the problem and how to fix it. After fifteen minutes in the pit, we were back in line for acceleration testing again. This time with an extra condensator inserted. This time around, the results were so much better, giving us a 14th place. It was a relieved team standing on the lateral line watching and hoping that the problem was fixed. And so it was.

After finishing the acceleration test, we went back to the skid pad for our last two attempts on the skid pad test. This time the weather was a bit better, and so were the results. We ended up as number 21 on the skid pad test. 

  
Waiting for skid pad and acceleration test.

 

At one o´clock it was time for the sprint competition.  The rain had stopped but the tarmac was still wet. We waited for the tarmac to dry for almost an hour so that we could drive with slicks.  At that time, the weather seemed to be turning around, and some dark clouds was heading towards us. We didn´t take the risk on waiting any longer, and headed to the sprint area with slicks even though he tarmac was not completely dry yet. The drivers took it a bit slow in the beginning so that they could get a feeling on the grip. Some cars had problems with the tarmac being slippery, and we didn´t want anything to go wrong so that we could not finish the endurance on Sunday. We finished out as the best time at the being, but as the tarmac tried out, we ended up on 21.place.

During both sprint and acceleration, we got lots of attention on the Silverstone radio. Quoting one of the commentators "what an a amazing car, that sounds faast!"

On Sunday we started out as team number 24 on the endurance test. The start numbers were decided on basis of the results from the skid pad, acceleration and sprint competition. The weather was changing this day as well. The endurance test consisted of 22 laps, where each driver does 11 laps. There were several cars that ended up not finishing the endurance due to parts breaking and cars sliding, so we were keeping our fingers crossed hoping to finish the endurance and reaching our goal.


Waiting for the KA Borealis R to enter the endurance test.

 

We finished the endurance without any problems and ended up at 17th place. After two years of intense working, we had finally reached our goal, and words cannot describe how good it felt.

On Sunday evening there was a ceremony where all the 2012 winners were pronounced. We had for a long time been dreaming about becoming the best newcomer. The dream didn´t get any smaller as we finished all the dynamic and static tests with great results.  There was a tensed team listening to the judge when he was about to reveal the best new coming team of 2012. As he said our name, we all jumped up and started screaming. Revolve NTNU is the best newcomer of FSUK 2012. What an amazing feeling that is.

During the five days spent on Silverstone we have experienced so many things. We have grown as a team and we have gotten so much great feedback from the judges and other teams. The journey has been beyond all expectations. It is simply not possible to describe how many compliments we have gotten on the car. 

FSUK 2012 is a chapter left behind us. We are now focusing on Hockenheim and on continue the knowledge and experiences to next year members.

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