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)

On Facebook

2011 Season Overview

Twelfth place in the 2011 Formula 4 Championship out of 26 for a newly formed team in their first ever season of racing is quite an achievement in its own right.  But couple this to the fact that each member of the team is also studying for a degree at the same time, then this achievement escalates to beyond impressive.

What’s even more impressive is that had the team not been blighted by extremely bad luck towards the end of the championship, then 8th place in the championship would’ve been secured and perhaps exceeded.

The students knew that running the team whilst studying was not going to be easy, but the engineering students in particular used the opportunity to base their assignment work on the car, thus developing the car whilst also developing their own skills and knowledge in various engineering practices.

The team have experienced mixed emotions this season; from the joys of a fourth place finish at Snetterton to the major disappointment of an engine failure at their home round at Pembrey. This is motorsport though after all, and it is in the nature of the sport that highs and lows can both strike at unexpected and for the latter, unwanted times.

006

The team made the long haul up to Cadwell Park in Lincolnshire for their first round of the championship. The car had been tested and was ready to go. The car passed its first scrutineering test since 1997 and T im took to the track for the first time. The car completed qualifying and went on to complete most of the race, until a rear wishbone bracket failed, forcing Tim to retire from the race. This resulted in initial disappointment amongst the team, but after the event it was realised that overall it was a positive experience because it was a great team-building exercise, also proving that the car wasn’t bulletproof and that some more work had to be done.

Mallory Park was the next event, this time a double-header. The weather was very bad throughout the entire day with very poor visibility and lots of standing water on the track. However, it soon became apparent that Tim was particularly good in wet conditions, and th017e team finished 6th in both races. This was a massive boost for a team that had entered their second ever race and first time in wet conditions.

Three weeks later and it was Donington which set the scene for another double header event. The team were trying out some different tyres at this race and they seemed to work quite well, providing Tim with a top ten qualifying position and a 9th place finish, narrowly missing out on 8th. Unfortunately the car did not complete the second race, due to a fuel pump issue. Mixed fortunes then at a track brand new to the team.

The next event was Snetterton, and it was another double header. After Donington the decision was made to purchase brand new tyres, as the previously tested compound didn’t quite provide the required pace.

WEBSITE5These new tyres and the car’s impressive straight line speed on the long straights saw Tim qualify 9th out of 17. Tim then drove a brilliant race through an action-packed field to bring the car home in 4th place; a fantastic achievement for SMU Motorsport. But the weekend wasn’t over, race two began the next day, and Tim drove another good race to finish in 6th place.

With a month until the next round, SMU Motorsport took some time out to assist their major supporters Ixell, Renault Insurance, Renault Accident Support Line and Ixtar at the World Series by Renault event at Silverstone. The car was on display and numerous presentations were held over the weekend to members of the public. The car collected huge interest amongst the motor racing fans at the event, and as well as supporting Ixell et al, it was great to create awareness about what we’re doing as a university.

SMU Motorsport were back at Silverstone the following week for the next round of the championship. It was fantastic to be competing at such a high profile circuit, and as such we wanted a good result.
However all hopes of a good result were short-lived as the car failed to complete qualifying with engine running issues. The team worked extremely hard to get to the bottom of the problem but had to throw in the towel just before the race started. Once back in the workshop it turned out to be an extremely unusual issue involving the clutch and crank position sensor, which meant the car had to be separated in half. Team members took time out of their summer holidays to return to the university to get the car ready for its next event at Pembrey.

Being the home round, Pembrey was an important event for SMU Motorsport and the team were strongly supported by the university’s other motorsport teams and staff. Friday saw the team undertake a testing session, during which the car ran very well. Saturday’s qualifying was a success with Tim achieving 7th place – a season best. The race however did not go quite so well, with valve damage occurring through what is thought to be a fuel related issue and also issues surrounding the engine’s maximum ‘safe’ RPM being exceeded. This put a stop to the weekend and the team were obviously very disappointed that they could not take some good points away from their home round.

The major mechanical damage incurred at Pembrey meant the spare engine would have to be put into the car in time for the season finale at Cadwell Park. It was a tough challenge for the team as the new academic term was beginning and time was short. However with a lot of hard work and dedication the spare engine was fitted and run-in on the university’s rolling road. The new engine was running well and the team were determined to finish a race at Cadwell Park, following their retirement there at the beginning of the season.for_engine_report_rebuild

Despite the engine running well on the rolling road, it threw up a number of issues throughout the weekend. Tim’s qualifying session came to an early finish due to the engine refusing to restart after the session was paused to clear away an accident caused by the slippery wet conditions. This was put down to a faulty air temperature sensor, which was then replaced for the race. When the first race got underway, the car refused to run properly and Tim had to enter the pits on the first lap with an intermittent misfire. Not wanting to run the risk of ruining another engine, the team decided to retire the car and investigate the problem. The ignition coil pack was chief suspect in this case and the team had a spare. However, the water pump appeared to be leaking and that was not such an easy fix. Water pump replacement involves splitting the car and without the facilities, light and equipment available to do so, the team had to finish the season by withdrawing from second race.

This was definitely not how the team wanted to finish off the 2011 season, but these things happen and the team will only gain motivation and determination from this, to prevent such things happening in the future.

The key target for 2012 is reliability, and steps have been put in place to have a more reliable and thus more competitive car for the next season.

The team has now taken on new engineers and management students to work with the current team and there is also a general aim to step up the team’s professionalism for the 2012 season with a full team kit and also increased exposure for the team throughout the media.

Remember to check the website for frequent updates on the car’s development for the 2012 season and to see what the team is up to. You can also follow the team on Facebook and Twitter.

A huge thank you to all the supporters, staff and team members for making this venture possible. The season concludes with a message from the team’s Chief Engineer, Harley Gasson:

“The chance to run a race team for a whole year is one that does not come around often and although we have had bad luck recently, I think it is important to reflect on just how fortunate we are as a student run race team to even have this fantastic opportunity. Juggling coursework with running a race car for a whole season is no easy feat and I am exceptionally proud of the team for always having the car ready for every event and for the long ‘after-uni’ hours which we all put in. There is a real passion in this team, and we certainly deserve to do well next season. We wish to end the season on a positive note given the massive achievements we have made since the initial shakedown of the car many months ago. The car has evolved enormously and that is down to the team’s hard work and generous support from the university staff. I’d also like to welcome the new students who have joined the team this term - the enthusiasm is fantastic. We will be back, bigger and better in 2012. “