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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2012 Silverstone

2012 F4 Championship: Rounds 1 & 2. Silverstone

The 2012 Formula 4 Championship kicked off at Silverstone on the weekend of the 31st March/1st April, with SMU Motorsport bringing fresh faces to the paddock, amongst the original senior members who saw success in the 2011 Championship.Minus the new sponsorship logos the car is aesthetically identical to last year’s championship contender, but has undergone rigorous testing to develop a good mechanical package which we hope will put us further up the grid this year.

Final year BEng student Brian Fenton who is in charge of the data acquisition and car set-up has developed a comprehensive computer aided set-up database which allows changes to be made to the car based upon real-life data; thereby allowing us to set up the car exactly to the driver’s prsilverstone 2012eferred style.

The championship runs in a different format this year, with every event having two races, with a separate qualifying session for each (when held across both days of the weekend; one qualifying session if not).

The team were at the circuit early Saturday morning for the first scrutineering session of the year, and passed with no problems. The car had been checked over the previous day so it was ready to head out for the first qualifying session.
Tim immediately beat his best lap time set in the 2011 championship, and qualified 8th. Upon returning to the pits, Tim informed the engineers that the car was suffering from corner entry understeer and exit oversteer; ultimately affecting his lap times. After consulting the set-up database and using the car’s data logger, appropriate adjustments could be made to the front Belleville washers (which control the car’s front roll) and also to the rear anti-roll bar.

The adjustments saw Tim’s pace improve even further in the first race, finishing in a solid 7th position after a good battle with Charles Adrian in the number 99 Van Diemen.
We were losing speed on the straights however with the car hitting the rev’ limiter too early. This is a result of the gear ratios being too short. First year BEng Motorsport Engineering student Olly Jenner has been getting involved with the gearbox this year and has a computer based model of all the available gear ratios we have in stock and the speeds they will deliver. The model also tells the user the RPM drop for each gear change and also how much torque and power is available throughout any range of RPM.

changing ratiosBy working together the engineers correlated data from the car’s data logger via the data acquisition system with the gear ratio model and determined an optimum set of gear ratios for the circuit. First year BEng Motorsport Engineering student Carwyn Davies has also been keen to get involved in the gearbox and worked extremely hard with Olly throughout the afternoon to remove the current gear ratios and replace them with the optimised ones in time for Sunday’s qualifying session. This is the first time the team have changed gear ratios at a race and it was a great learning experience for everybody on the team.

The hard work paid off with the car quicker on the straights, allowing Tim to set a new best time in Sunday’s qualifying; just under a second quicker than his best time set on Saturday. The mid-field is extremely close this year with only 1.7 seconds separating 4th & 8th place.

diff diagram

 

Everybody was confident of a good result in the second race, but it seems that the team haven’t quite yet escaped the grip of the bad luck that plagued part of their last season. A differential failure on the start line saw Tim immediately retire from the race. The differential's spider gears had shattered, meaning there was no drive to the wheels. The failure was unforeseen but not unheard of for this race car. Fortunately back at SMU’s race workshop, there is a differential in good condition from the Hewland gearbox in the decommissioned Formula Ford. This has since been installed into our car upon returning to the university. With this issue fixed so promptly, the team are now looking forward to the next round, which takes place at Brands Hatch on the 28th April.

 

 

 Chief Engineer Harley Gasson talks about the first weekend of the 2012 championship:

“ Although we didn’t manage to finish the second race, I think we should take away a lot of positivity from the weekend, because this time last year we were around 15 seconds off P1, whereas we’ve now cut that down massively to 3.5 seconds. There’s still some work to be carried out on the car to bring us even further into contention with the front of the pack and we just have to be patient because I believe this season good results will definitely come for SMU Motorsport. Reliability is absolutely key to getting consistent points and it is frustrating that the differential let us down. Without rebuilding the gearbox and differential with new parts before the start of the season however, this failure is unavoidable. And such work is unfortunately beyond our budget.

We had a fantastic team for the weekend and I’m very proud of how hard everybody worked. Hopefully their hard work will soon be rewarded with some solid race finishes and good results.”

2012 team silverstone