Race Calendar

2016 Race Calender 

 

April 23/24th - Silverstone Int.

May 30th - Oulton Park Endurance

June 11/12th - Thrxuton

July 3rd - Donington Park

July 17th - Castle Coombe

August 6/7th - Snetterton 300

August 27/28th - Brands Hatch GP Endurance

October 22/23rd - Brands Hatch Indy (FFF)

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Formula 4 Comes to Wales

After the bad luck of Silverstone, SMU Motorsport for the only time this season headed way out west for rounds 11 and 12 of the Formula 4 Championship. The rounds were to be held at the University's ‘home circuit’ at Pembrey, just 20 miles from the team's headquarters.With the clutch issue resolved the team looked forward to racing in front of their home crowd and supporters.

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The weekend began earlier than usual, as Friday saw the team undertake a test programme at the circuit to iron out any last minute teething problems. For driver Tim Tudor this was the circuit he was most looking forward to as he and the team have tested there many a time over the closed season in both the wet and dry conditions.
 
There were a few issues which were to be resolved over the course of the day. The clutch had to be bled, the throttle cable had to be tightened, suspension settings adjusted and new aero updates from team aerodynamicist Justin Morden had to be tested. 
 
With a warm, sunny day and perfect track conditions, Tim carried out five, 20 minute sessions on track. The best time achieved was a 1 minute 2 second lap with the older test tyres. With the team preserving the Avon race tyres they were very optimistic of a strong showing for the next day.
 
By Saturday the conditions had changed dramatically as the team arrived to a very wet circuit. The contrast in weather wasn’t to dampen the team's spirits as they carried out their pre race preparations.
 
Qualifying was the first time Tim had driven the car in the wet since Mallory Park in June. However this was not to be a problem as Tim revelled in the conditions and was setting impressive times which were quicker than some pre season testing times in the dry! With the 20 minutes over, Tim had qualified the team in 7th place. The season's best which put more experienced championship contenders behind him.
 

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Swansea Metropolitan University also had a display with not only the Formula Renault in attendance but a whole host of the other vehicles which other divisions run under the SMU Motorsport banner. As the engineers prepared the car the management students spoke to family members, university staff and guests, spectators and new students who were to start the new academic year a few days later.
 
The race was to be held in similar conditions as qualifying. There was to be a heart stopping moment for the team as the battery on the car was low and could not start on its own accord. The crew managed to bump start the car for Tim to be able to take his place on the grid. As the lights went out Tim kept up his season long tradition of excellent starts and had made his way up to 5th place at the first corner.

However, for SMU Motorsport recent bad luck was to strike again. Tim was holding his own until lap 4 when he felt a gradual power loss as well as the engine note beginning to change. Tim tried to keep going but the noise was getting worse and with a lack of power, he was passed by two other competitors. On lap 11 he decided to pull in. 
 
Once back into the garage the team looked to try and resolve the problem and to try and be back out the next day for round 12. Sadly this was not to be the case as the engine had dropped a valve which made contact with a piston and subsequently destroyed both the piston and cylinder head. 
 
Unfortunately the problem was so severe and with no complete spare engine to go into the car SMU Motorsport had to call time on the weekend’s operation. 

Also out on track was Year 2 Motorsport Management student Daniel Street who competes in the Stock Hatch Championship. He was to add to the weekend to forget for Swansea Metropolitan University. Daniel managed a respectable 13th place on the Saturday but he too had to pull into the pits with an engine failure on the last lap on the Sunday race.

It was not all doom and gloom as there was a major milestone reached at Pembrey. Tim had received his 6th and final signature on his race license which enabled him to take off his novice sticker and this also will enable him to upgrade his competition license. 
 
Head Of Management and Operations Ben Buesnel looks back on the weekend:
 
‘It is such a shame the weekend once again had to be curtailed early. To not put on a show in front of the home crowd was disheartening, but sadly this is the world of motorsport where there will always be highs and lows. We may have slipped down a few positions in the championship but I am once again proud to be apart of this excellent team. Tim has once again made his claim as a wet weather specialist with a great run in qualifying and showed another step forward in pace this weekend. The team looked smart and professional and were great ambassadors for the University. The engineers were straight into the workshop Monday morning to replace the engine which underlines the teams spirit and enthusiasm. We are all determined and confident that we can return to Cadwell Park in two weeks time for a good finish to end the season on a high’.  
 
Next week, Chief Engineer Harley Gasson will post an update on the engine rebuild and preparation for Cadwell Park which hosts the season finale.