Silverstone 2014 Event Diary

The University of Glasgow Racing Team 2 had a fantastic time at the 2014 FSAE event in Silverstone this year, while the first team were unable to prepare the car in time we made the most of the weekend and tackled the Class 2 events with maximum effort.

The drive was long and sleep was short but an opportunity put the finishing touches to our presentations couldn’t be missed. Most of the team spent the six hour journey pouring over notes, posters, and various websites sharpening their preparation. The effort was helped massively by the two bus driver’s impeccable taste in music, focussing and inspiring the team as we flew through border and beyond.
Arrival at the Silverstone campsite was met with varying degrees of apathy as we set about finding supplies and dividing the sleeping arrangements into the least controversial layout. Once the tents had been transformed into typical student accommodation we went to the introductory talk with some great words from Paddy Lowe and Mike Gascoyne. After this we had a quick walk around the paddock to peek at teams who had already set up in their garages. Once we had interfered with most of the teams it was back to camp for dinner. After some initial difficulty, and with maybe a little help from our Australian neighbours, Edith Cowan Racing, a barbeque was had where we could finally put our feet up.

The next day, Thursday, was the design competition. Everyone was up from an unholy hour to have our booth set up and looking smart for the Judges. We were all nervous, however no one seemed to be in the business of calming each other down despite the jovial assurances and confidence inspiring words of the night before. Nevertheless, the booth was set up in time. More remarkable still was the team uniforms turning up just before the judges arrived. This gave us a fantastic opportunity to showcase our torsos and intimidate the competition with our superior biology as we changed out of our improvised outfits.

Kit on, booth ready, and with nervous looks exchanged, the judges arrived. Team head Andrew Reid introduced the team and briefed the panel on the design philosophy and aims of the project before letting them loose on the team. Each of the sub-sections of the design explained the individual concepts and major decisions in their areas, answering questions to the best of their abilities. Unfortunately we were missing members from suspension and chassis which proved problematic. The team faced quite a few questions in those areas that the last minute swatting simply didn’t cover, yet the judges seemed impressed that we knew even a little about unfamiliar areas of the car. Still this would be something to avoid for next year, we are going to need every area covered in order to improve. The questions that could be answered were dealt with well and overall we were happy with our performance.

Next was the cost report, an area where we felt strong. The judges looked mainly for the organisational characteristics and dynamics of the team. Andrew again did a great job of talking for the team and with the odd help from other members gave a solid presentation and answered questions fantastically. Clear up didn’t take too long and we spent the rest of the day trying to decide if it had went well or not.
More teams had arrived in the mean time so we had the pleasure of walking through more garages and taking lots of pictures. Meanwhile back at camp Nick Beattie (Bodywork and other things) and Andrew got back to preparing the business logic case to be presented that afternoon. While a largely unknown and unfamiliar area of the competition to the team the boys felt they done a good job and enjoyed the rest of the evening with the team, climaxing in a truly awful game of football after a much more successful barbeque.

The team was then free for the rest of the weekend, besides awaiting the results we could simply spectate, take notes, and attain vast areas of sunburn.
The combined results put us 12th overall which was a fantastic result, surprising everyone. Although the sight of so many well produced cars and busy teams did leave us feeling like we need to do a lot better for the next year. The team felt more like guests rather than competitors for the remainder of the event, but we still had a lot of fun.

The skidpan and brake test areas were fantastic viewing as we could watch teams tweaking their set up and see the results played out in front of us. The skidpan was particularly competitive and great to watch with cars fire round every couple of minutes. The acceleration final which was held on the old start line turned out to be spectacular. The top European teams took it in turns to see who could cover 75m the fastest, almost everyone was on the pit wall to get a good view. The sprint events too were excellent viewing, we sat on the stands and cheered any team that didn’t break down.

Back at camp the last few nights definitely had a party atmosphere; we watched some incredibly ambitious drinking games involving strict rules/referees and heard all sorts of horrible music throughout the site. So on the last evening we decided to go to a pub instead to watch the world cup after some much needed pizza. This had even worse music however and we left as soon as the game had finished.

On the last morning the team packed up the bus once more and we set off home. This offered everyone a glimpse at the luxury hotel Jim Beeley (Faculty Adviser, Bus Driver) had been staying in to avoid camping. Much to our disgust there was a restaurant and an all-day breakfast deal advertised outside the car park. Once again the Ford Transit pilots whipped up a fine selection of audible delights, this time to coax the weary travellers into a refreshing sleep as we tore through the country back to the promise land of Glasgow.

Formula Student 2014 was immensely fun for the University of Glasgow team, we were rightly exhausted. We punched above our weight and spent long, hard days watching other teams. Next year we will bring our own car and sound system, stunning the Silverstone attendees with our adaptability and flawless music selection.