Formula Student Germany 2013 – Hockenheimring, Germany
The McGill University Formula SAE Team from Montreal, Canada shows itself to be a strong contender on the world stage with a strong performance at Formula Student Germany 2013, hosted at the Hockenheimring Formula 1 circuit.
For those uninitiated, Formula SAE/Student is an engineering design competition targeted towards university students studying engineering, with the goal to provide students with a hands-on project to apply the skills and knowledge they are taught in their courses. Students are required to take on all aspects of the project, including: Design, Manufacturing, Testing and Maintenance, Finance and Sponsorship, and of course Project Management.
For the last 15 years of its existence the McGill Racing Team has been bound by the North American shores; satisfying its competitive spirit by attending competitions in Michigan, Nebraska and Canada. But across the Atlantic, Formula Student Germany has, in only 7 years, quickly established itself as the premier and most prestigious Formula SAE/Student competition in the world. Building upon its success, the McGill Racing Team decided it was time they ship themselves and their latest creation, MRT15, over to Germany.
The Team had a great start to the competition, sailing through Technical, Tilt, Noise and Brake Scrutineering on Day 2. Thanks to being well-prepared, the Team would have a full day to get ready for Static Events and Wet Skidpad on Day 4.
Day 4 ended with some great results: the team placed 8th in Business Presentation, 9th in Wet Skid Pad, and learned late that evening that they were in the Top 7 teams attending the Engineering Design Finals event the next day. The Engineering Design event carries a lot of prestige within the competition, and requires the team to present to an expert panel of judges a full year’s worth of engineering design analysis, testing results, observations and lessons learned.
The Team encountered its first few problems on track on Day 5. In the morning, the car was prepared for the Acceleration event and put down a respectable time on the first drivers’ second run, unfortunately the quicker second driver experienced gearbox issues for both runs and the Team was forced to accept a mediocre placing of 44th.
The next event was Autocross, in the afternoon. The first driver went out and halfway through the first run had a rear tie-rod break. The Team luckily had a spare with them and had it replaced shortly. The second driver experienced gearbox issues as the Team had seen in Acceleration, but managed to put in a time of 84 seconds, good for 26th.
After a quick washing of the car, and everyone changing into their Design clothes, the Team was ready to present in the Engineering Design Finals. It was an intense two hours, but it was well worth it: the McGill Racing Team placed 4th in Design!
Day 6, the finale. The Endurance race. The car was prepared early in the morning with a plan to spend some time on the practice track before the car was required to race, shortly after lunch. The first few practice sessions went well; the drivers felt good. Unfortunately, lightning struck, and on the last run a wing mount on the roll-hoop failed; due to the short time schedule, the Team was forced to remove the wings and prepare to get out on track. This was a real shame as the loss of the wings was a great hindrance to the car’s performance.
That being said, the drivers were able to adapt quickly, put in solid lap times and bring the car through driver change and across the final chequered flag!
When all was said and done, the McGill Racing Team finished 14th overall and all the team members were quick to agree that Formula Student Germany 2013 had been one of the most exciting and educational events they had ever attended, and were very proud of their accomplishments after a long year of hard work. In the opinion of their graduating Team Captain “FSG was nothing less than the most professional and competitive environment that the McGill Racing Team has ever competed in”.
The team is already hard at work designing the car for the 2014 season and has high hopes to be able to return to Germany again next year and compete, once again, for the Grand Prize.