Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This past weekend

Team members spent last Saturday and Sunday testing Car 51 at a couple of places off campus, thanks to two great sponsors: Goodyear Tire & Rubber and Robert Bosch Corporation. Thank you to both of you for loaning us your time, facilities and personnel - we can't say enough how valuable they are to us prepare.

Saturday, June 7: Robert Bosch Corporation Proving Grounds, Flat Rock, Michigan

Thanks to an invitation by team alum Nick LaPlaca and Jon Denton and through the generosity of Paul Bacon and Gary Champine of Robert Bosch Corporation, we were able to utilize Bosch's fantastic surface at their Flat Rock facility to shake down Car 51 on Saturday. Eager to ensure that we have enough seat time for every driver, Driving Team Leader Andy Gryczan put Skidpad and Acceleration drivers Scott Williams and Jordan Smart in the race car for the duration of the day.

We are happy to report that Car 51 ran very reliably and each driver got some driving time. Thankfully, the weather cooperated and we had sunny and dry conditions, just as we expect to see in Fontana in the next couple of weeks. The track surface temperature was a little lower than is expected in California, and the wind a bit greater than we've experienced in the past, but never the less, the testing couldn't have been much more ideal.

Thanks again to everyone at Bosch for making this possible for us! Here are some pictures and a couple of short videos from the day.

Lifting the car onto stands

Acceleration & Skidpad Driver Scott Williams

2009 Chief Engineer Andy Rogers performs a pre-race fastener check

Driving & Powertrain-Mechanical Team Leader Andy Gryczan inspects the cooling system before the car heads to the track

TEAMWORK: Checking tire temperatures after a run (LtoR: Jordan Smart, Marcus McDuffie, Hillary Gregory, Marshall Mendoza, Andy Gryczan, Jon Denton)

Scott Williams launches for the start of a Skidpad run

Ready, Set, Go!

Team alumnus & Bosch engineer Jon Denton assists Andy Gryczan with some traction control tuning

Heading down the backside of the Acceleration strip

Sunday, June 8: Goodyear Tire & Rubber Proving Grounds, Akron, Ohio

Sunday began with a very early drive from the shop in Okemos to Akron, Ohio for a fun-filled day of testing at Goodyear Tire and Rubber’s test track. Upon arriving, we were greeted by Dan Alford, our Goodyear rep. for the day. Additionally, the University of Cincinnati, one of our FSAE competitors for the upcoming Formula SAE West event, was there shaking down their car.

The day at Goodyear was probably the most realistic simulation yet that we’ve experienced of the weather that we’re sure to see in California in a few weeks. It was nearly 90 degrees F outside, we experienced a moderate wind and the track temperature was 110 degrees F. This really helped us to get an accurate idea of how the race car’s cooling system will handle the hotter CA temperatures. This system is tested to its limits during the Endurance event in Fontana, as the cars really do take a beating when run that hard and long in the hot weather.

I’d like to tell you that Car 51 ran cool all day – but it didn’t, so we have spent the last few days working out the problems and figuring out a solution – which we think we now have. To aid keeping air entering the side pods from becoming stagnant before reaching the radiators, we are building a set of carbon fiber ducts that will run directly from the side pod opening to the front face of each radiator. Additionally, we are increasing the size of the lines in the cooling system and possibly going to larger oil cooler to ensure cool oil temperatures as well. We’ll get a chance to test these tools this Saturday, when we head back to Akron.

One thing that is absolutely essential to doing well at competition is having talented drivers that are well-acclimated with the car that they’ll be piloting. So, in addition to gathering data for the last several weeks, we have been getting all four of our FSAE West drivers; Andy Gryczan, Brandon Goad, Jordan Smart and Scott Williams, as much seat-time as possible. Brandon, our lead driver last year, and Andy, our Driving Team Leader, will pilot Car 51 for the Autocross and Endurance events in Fontana, as they are our quickest drivers and these two events are worth the greatest number of points at a Formula SAE competition. Jordan Smart and Scott Williams will handle driving duties on the remaining two events: Acceleration and Skidpad. For those of you who tuned in to Car 9’s blog last year, you may remember that MSU set a competition record at Formula SAE West 2007 when we won the Acceleration event with a time of 3.894 seconds. Unfortunately, Ben LeVesque, who drove that winning run, has graduated and moved on to bigger and better things at Pratt & Miller Engineering. Judging by the times we’ve seen thus far, and the set-up we plan on running with Car 51 at competition, it may be possible for Jordan and/or Scott to pull off another win, and hopefully, another record. However, there is always a bit of luck involved in racing, so we wish them the best!

As Brandon has limited times when he can drive the car, and has such a vital role in our placement during those two pivotal dynamic events in Fontana, he received the most seat-time of the weekend; driving all day on Sunday. We are happy to report that he ran 56 second lap-times during the course of the day – just where the top Goodyear-sponsored teams from the Formula SAE MIS competition were running. Below are some pictures of him piloting Car 51 around Goodyear’s great facility. Thanks Goodyear!

Until next weekend, Go Green. Go White. Go Fast.


Brandon Goad mentally prepares for the course

Heading down the front straight

I actually can't remember where this was on the track.

We switched directions and ran the course backwards with Cincinnati

Our cohorts from southern Ohio: The University of Cincinnati

Sideview of Cincinnati

And this is why we call him "The Goad Show": Brandon easily controls Car 51 through a slippery corner exit

Going over the final times of the day

Tired, hot, sunburned...and still excited. It was a wonderful weekend.

No comments: