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FSG 2015: Day 4

Today was a big day – 2 dynamic events and design finals in the evening. We started off the day by rolling out to noise. We couldn’t start the engine until about 11 or noon, at which point we had to take out the exhaust and intake to dry because we think it was flooded. Due to this setback we were unable to run acceleration. We ended up capping one of the two mufflers and then we passed noise at around 2 pm with something like 96 db at idle and 106 at test speed. Passed brakes first shot and then changed the tires and went back to the test pad to check if everything was running smoothly. Everything looked good so we rolled off to autocross.

Lew strapped in, he posted 79s and 75s, the fastest time being posted by GFR with 69s. At 6 we were back in line with Pat strapped in, but being in the 2nd driver lane, there were literally 40 cars in front of us. By the time 6:30 rolled around we were still very far from the start line. Design finals started at 7 pm so we had to roll out. Design finals went well, and we got our car signed by Pat Clarke! We’ll see tomorrow if we beat our 4th from ’13…

We had a couple things to fix and set up to get ready for endurance tomorrow morning so the team is staying up late to get it done. Hopefully everything will get finished and we will be able to roll out to the test pad right away tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is endurance and the last day of FSG 2015!

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FSG 2015: Day 3

Today we went to technical inspection for 8:30, where the judges found a few more minor points to modify on the car. We went back to the pits at 9:30 to prepare the car for design.

Design went well, although with all of the information we wanted to share with them, it seemed shorter than ever! Cost was immediately after design, and also went smoothly. Business was in the afternoon, and Matt and Anna seemed confident on their performance.
We then got back to tech, got our sticker, filled up, passed tilt and then went to noise; 3-6 db too loud at both idle and test speed so we went back to the paddocks and covered the intake with a sound insulatig foam, packed the mufflers and went back, but we unfortunately got kicked out at 7:30. Therefore we c
ouldn’t do brakes either and couldn’t post a skidpad time. Although this was disappointing, we were able to lift our heads know that our business team had made it to business finals at 8pm!
They went first, shaking off anxiety and stress to deliver a killer presentation. However, the two other finalist, TU Fast and Bodensee Racing Team, were more than worthy competitors. At the end of the presentation, the officials announced that the awards would be given that night, so the stress did not end there!
The award ceremony began at 9pm, and before the business prizes were awarded, they announced the design finalists for combustion, and we made it! We are joined by GFR, UAS Munich, TU Fast, UWashington, and UAS Graz. Us 6 teams will present tomorrow (Saturday) night from 7:00-9:30pm.
And then, for the first time ever, the McGill Racing Team was able to take home a trophy at Formula Student Germany, as we were rewarded with 1st prize in business presentation; Good job Anna and Matt!
Tomorrow morning we will get in line early to pass sound and pass brakes to then proceed with accel and autocross in the afternoon. And then, design finals!
Bed time now, the team needs some good rest.
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FSG 2015: Day 2

This morning dawned cold and cloudy – our patience and endurance to cold weather is being tested: 8 C at 7 am, and we had to wait until 2 pm or so to go in pre-tech inspection: checking driver gear and fire extinguishers. We spent most of the day chatting with other teams trying to get an idea of what the judges were specifically looking for at tech. This lead to a few minor adjustments and more or less a day of anticipation and waiting.

The sun started to shine around 3:30 pm and it was a sign – we finally got into pre-tech at around 4 pm, had a small issue with a fire extinguisher and then continued to wait. At 6:30 pm we made it to actual tech and stayed until 8-8:30 at which point we had to go back the pits, tech was only supposed to be until 7…

We have a couple issues to fix, nothing too major, should all be accomplished tonight and ready for the morning. We were on the line for some trickier stuff such as the front bulkhead laminate equivalency, but Andy handled it like a champ.
The whole team worked well into the night, checking off items at a good pace. We got most of it done and plan to head to tech tomorrow morning at 8:20.
I was confused in the last post, the times I gave were correct for the static events, but they are tomorrow, today was for the electric teams. Which means tomorrow will be a busy day; tech in the morning with tilt, noise and brake, all three statics and then the famous wet skid-pad.
That’s all for now, stay tuned!IMG_7848

FSG 2015: Day 1

Formula Student Germany 2015 has officially begun! Most of the team arrived yesterday and we were able to set up camp and get the car settled into our pit. Today started off cold with some drizzle. Not the best way to kick off the competition but after a coffee or two spirits are high.

We are 120th or something for technical inspection, as we missed the quiz that determined the order. We spent the day inspecting the car, safety wiring, and processing test track data. Later in the day we posed for the group picture, and as you might be able to see there is now something like 60-70% wing cars out of the pack.

Unfortunately the whole day went by and we haven’t even been through pre tech yet, which our old friend Richard Raapke from Aachen is responsible for. On the bright side, the sun started to shine around 4 and the forecast for the rest of the week is looking up. The sponsor presence here is astounding – there are a multitude of booths full of industry representatives, snacks, and cool swag 🙂

Tomorrow is another full day of scrutineering; Friday we have the static events, starting with design at 10:50-11:45, cost at 11:55- 12:50, and marketing at 14:45-15:30. We really pushed to get some solid testing done during this last month and if we make sure we use the collected data to show our validation, we should perform well in design.

Friday is also the wet skidpad day, Saturday is accel and autocross, and Sunday is the all mighty endurance race.

We hope to do tech tomorrow morning, but as we’ve been instructed to calmly wait to be called for tech before you head over, we can only prepare ourselves and wait.

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FSG 2015: Germany Pre-Testing Week

Formula Student Germany is upon us! With the competition officially starting July 28th, the car was shipped early Wednesday July 15th in order to arrive on Monday July 20th, giving us a good week of testing. Here is a run down of how the week went.

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The crate arrived on Monday and was unpacked that day. On Tuesday, we took the car onto track to do some testing with our newest driver, Felix, driving, but we stopped early because a semi large pebble rock got stuck between the chassis and the road. It did some damage to the chassis, although not structurally concerning. We also packed the cube van for the next day, with the plan to go to a test track 2 hours out of Karlsruhe.

On Wednesday morning, we woke up at 4:30 am, were on the road at 5:30 am. We got to the test track, where a total of 5 cars, including us, were testing: Karlsruhe electric & combustion and Munich electric & combustion. We did 25 km of autocross testing until more or less 4 pm, when we saw that the differential was cocked slightly sideways, damaging the RH flange. The rest seemed alright. We inspected the rest of the car and began the hunt to find a shop to machine a new flange.
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Thursday was a dedicated work day. We dedicated our efforts to repairing the chassis and the right diff flange, in addition to addressing some other small maintenance items. The day ended with a full technical inspection of all systems on the car.
Friday morning was spent working in KIT’s shop. In the early afternoon, we had almost finished repairing the damaged diff flange when we received the newly machined diff flange. So we installed the new one and re-assembled the rest of the car. Quick set-up and then we packed up to go testing at the only available track: a long straight line. Felix hopped in and tested the auto up-shift, which works well. We only had 20 minutes before we got kicked out. We also did some 60 and 70 kph constant runs for aero testing. All the drivetrain held up, so the car is in good shape. Hit 106 kph! So now when people ask what speed we reach we can still say over 100 kph.
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On the Saturday, we went to go test MRT16 at KIT’s north campus. We got there at around 8-9 am, unpacked and got Felix in the car. We did some acceleration testing, tweaking the rev limiter off the line, the auto up-shift and the tire pressure. We got down to consistent 4.0’s. (!) Our best run was a 3.96 s. Towards the end of the day, we did some aero testing with some straight line testing & coasting with the low drag setting, normal setting and wings off.
Sunday was spent in Saarbucken; we arrived at around 2 pm, tested until 4 when we discovered a minor mechanical failure. Fortunately the failure didn’t impact other aspects of the car, and so we returned to the shop with an easy fix in mind.
On Monday, other team members began arriving at around noon. The car continued to receive attention throughout the day while we packed our belongings and prepared for the vehicle’s journey to Hockenheim. A few members went to the site early to set up camp, where they spent the night.
Tuesday morning was spent much like the day before. Eventually, all members journeyed to the Hockenheimring, and the car made it to its paddock with a little help from our old friends from RWTH Aachen. The competition kicked off that evening, and so began FSG in full force!
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More Updates to come online, on Facebook, and on Twitter!

Formula North: Day 4

After putting back the car together this morning, we got to the practice area, everything seemed to be working fine, but the engine was still running hot.

We got to the dynamic area, Pat hopped in, warmed the car up and then went on track. The car was running well, putting a 54.5 or so at his fastest lap. After four or five laps, the engine coolant temperature got 10-15 degrees higher than the steady temperature we saw in autocross, so Pat kept it in fourth gear (yes, it was a fast track) in order to minimize the heat generation. A lap or so after, the temperature started rising very quickly; a couple seconds after, it got up to 190 degrees, at which point Pat stopped on the side of the track and killed the engine. He saw a little bit of smoke coming over his shoulder so he hopped out. No fire, just pulled the car out and that was it. After the whole race, the engine still turned on, but upon draining the water to minimize corrosion in the system, there was barely any left. We’ll inspect thoroughly once back in the shop.
We then packed up the trailer, attended the awards ceremony and headed back home. Formula North 2015 was a great time and we look forward to returning next year!
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Formula North: Day 3

Today was an intense and pretty successful day, all things considered. The cooling leak was fixed this morning, we changed the seals and put the cover back on the engine, filled coolant & oil and headed to the skid-pad. Dan did his two runs with his best time being 5.950s. Then we ran to accel – where the shifting only worked from 2nd to 3rd – we got a 5.130s (12th overall). Then Felix suited up with one minute left for skid-pad and he managed to get a 5.723s! (7th overall).

We then headed back to the paddock and inspected the car, then headed to the practice area to test shifting. After two tests we got it working well. The autocross track was a fast one, lots of high speed turns, straights and one slalom. We went to autocross at around 2:30 pm, with Pat in the car. He did a 56.091s on his first lap and a 60.354s on his second. The engine was running hot so we let it sit for a bit. Lewis suited up and went on track at 4:30, he did a 55.539s on his first lap and a 61.388s on his second lap. That placed us 6th overall. We found out later that the engine was limiting power since we were running hot, which affected both second runs, when the engine was getting a bit too hot.
The car was then brought back to the paddocks and inspected – everything seems to be holding on fine. We will have a couple of things to assemble back on the car tomorrow morning, but nothing to worry about.
As y’all know, tomorrow is the big race, stay tuned!
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Formula North: Day 2

Day two of Formula North 2015 has come to an end. The issue with the check valve was fixed yesterday before leaving the site. Therefore, this morning we went straight to the tilt table, checked that off the list and moved on to noise. We passed idle at 98 dbc, stopped for 5 minutes to check some other systems, and then asked to do the high speed test. Unfortunately they wanted us to do the idle again, which was somehow now at 104 dbc (idle has to be at 100 dbc), but we passed the high speed easily at 108 dbc (has to be less than 110 dbc) . The engine is a lot quieter than previous seasons. Since we had to go to cost with the car, we asked to do the brake test then and to come back to pass idle later. We got the brake test first shot. We then brought the car back for cost, which went pretty well. Marketing was at 11:30, Matt Lebeau and Anna Gardiner were up and it went well

We then headed back to pass the sound test. We tried a couple times, slowly going down to 102 dbc. We fiddled some more with some parameters, got the idle down to 1600 rpm, re-packed the muffler, turned the car around to have the wind in our back (that’s the real trick) and passed idle at 99 dbc. Having passed noise we were done with tech!
We then rolled back to the pits, cleaned the car up and headed to design. It went pretty well, overall the judges seemed satisfied with our answers and impressed with the finish of the car. After doing a design debrief, we rolled to the testing area and got Dan in the car for a bit of seat time. Earlier in the day we found that the water pump shaft seal was leaking, since it corrodes easily with water. We are now preparing to change it, the part is coming from Montreal tonight.
The plan tomorrow is to fix the water leak problem first thing tomorrow morning with the new part, head to the testing area to make sure the shifting works properly and then go on with the dynamic events!
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Formula North: Day 1

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Today marked the beginning of our second competition of the season, Formula North. Last night, we got to Barrie, Ontario after showing the car to a couple of the folks down at Multimatic, one of our sponsors. They were pretty excited to see the final product that they had seen get created in late January.
This morning we registered, prepped for tech, and waited for our number to be called (we got number 9). We got in the tech booth at around 1:30-1:45 pm, went smoothly but it was a bit long, we got out at around 3:30-4 pm. We then did some final checks and headed for tilt. The check valve on the fuel tank cap leaked a little bit so we began trying a few fixes. Unfortunately, the event closed before we had a chance to fix it for good. However, we are sure that we are ready for tilt first thing tomorrow.
We then attended the opening ceremony and did a suspension set-up in preperation for tomorrow.
The plan will be to do tilt, noise and brakes tomorrow morning before cost at 11:00. Marketing is at 11:30 and then design at 3:15. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to go in the testing area to make sure everything is going smoothly. We are getting reinforcements tonight and are looking forward to pushing hard for the rest of competition together.
Stay tuned!

FSAE East Competition Recap

The McGill Racing Team recently travelled to Brooklyn, Michigan to participate in the prestigious FSAE East. Although the week had ups and downs, the experience was well worth it. Below is a recap of the week.

Tuesday May 12th:

On the day before competition began, we were lucky enough to meet up with our industry advisor from Ford Performance, who had a day of visits planned out for us. We were able to get detailed tours of the facilities and some tests tracks, among other things. We thoroughly thank Ford Performance for the effort they put in to enhance our learning experience. That afternoon, we continued our tour at Watson Racing, a Ford OEM supplier. They were very kind and provided us with a spot in their garage to work on our car. They were very generous in offering us some machine tools and some machining services on extra parts that we needed that night. Employees from Ford Performance (formerly Ford SVT) came by to chat with us and check the car out. We also had a visit from Henry Ford III, who was thoroughly impressed by the look of the car. We worked until around midnight and they took off to go to the Juniper Camp ground, next to Michigan International Speedway.

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Day 1 of Competition:

In the morning, we got on site, registered, and continued working on the car. To summarize, the chassis, suspension, brakes and steering were 99% finalized. The front wing and rear wing were done, a little bit of work remained to be done on the mid-region. The powertrain and electronics made a lot of progress and were very close to the point where we could start the engine. We brought the trailer back to the camp ground to work on it through the night.

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Day 2 of comp:

A good, long day, but also a bit insane. We arrived early to continue working on the car. Got in at cost at 9:30, Johnny Boy & Dan smashed it, Anna and Matt went to marketing, also went well. Kept working on the car like crazy, rolled to tech at around 12:30, passed without any major problems, and weighted the car, 352 lbs dry. Got out of tech at around 3:50, prepped for design at 4:30, also went well, we definitely felt like on the cusp of finals. No tilt, noise, or brakes. We took the car back off site, knowing we would have to re-tech, and worked at ETS’s rented house garage until 3am to finish some powertrain stuff and hopefully get the engine running.  Shoutout to ETS for offering us a workspace in our time of need.

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Day 3 of comp:

After working on the car until the late hours in the morning, we met in the morning before taking off to MIS. Considering the unfinished parts of the car, we took the decision to keep working on finishing those parts today and tomorrow but not performing in the dynamic events. It was a harsh decision, but the car was simply too far from running without risking destroying many things.

The design judges came back to give us some feedback: we had it all, apart from testing & validation. The judges were impressed by our design and integration, but just like with MRT15, we were lacking testing time, which is pretty much the only reason why we didn’t make it to design finals.

Day 4 of comp:

We spent the morning split between a few jobs on the car and watching endurance. The afternoon we packed the trailer and watched endurance as a full team. Although we were dissappointed about our dynamic performance, we used the opportunity to be together and learn for the future. We attended the design review, business presentations, and final ceremony as a team, where we won 1st in Technical Drawings! Shoutout to Paul for the good work once again! We had a relaxing night at the campground before packing up to head back the next morning.

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Looking forward:

It is clear that we did not achieve our goal; the car was not able to compete in all of the events. That being said, we know we have an excellent car on our ends, and all we need is a little more time. We have set a plan for the next two weeks before Formula North, and we hope to come charging out of the tracks for that. More news to come in the next few weeks, so stay tuned!

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