It is with great pleasure that we at Oxford Brookes Racing welcome you to the 2017 Formula Student season!
We’ve had a successful start to our preparations already, and we enjoyed our biggest sign-up process ever! Thanks to massive interest in OBR, this year’s team has a whopping 215 members, all of whom are ready and raring to go; our blend of brand new members and experienced hands mean that OBR is looking revitalised and replenished. At this stage, we are well into the design phase of the car, and each department within the team is exploring some exciting developments that can help us rise through the Formula Student ranks.
The powertrain department is currently laying down the groundwork for one of our larger changes this year. Having used our trusty KTM 530 for the past five competition years, the time was ripe for a brand new unit; we recently took delivery of a brand new engine, which we hope will contribute to further success in the Formula Student competitions. An article on our new engine will released soon, so stay tuned for more information!
For the 2017 competitions, the Aerodynamics team are hard at work devising a new aero kit for OBR17, with the objective of building on the performance of last year’s geometry. New concepts for the front and rear wings are being explored, whilst preliminary simulations are being run to identify which ideas have the most potential. The team is also looking at integrating a fully-functioning Drag Reduction System (DRS) into the package to improve the car’s straight-line speed and cooling efficiency.
The chassis team have been developing a new chassis concept for 2017, which incorporates a new damper layout on top of the front bulkhead. This new layout has been developed in conjunction with the Suspension, Vehicle Dynamics and Aerodynamics teams. Securing new sponsorship from Shape, the team plan to use a moulded monocoque for 2018, meaning that our trademark folded design will be seen for the last time in 2017. The team members will shortly become involved in workshops as the team sets to work on the Structural Equivalency Spreadsheet (SES).
Working on some technical problems which halted the team in testing parts on OBR16, the Control Systems team have managed to solve these issues. Currently, the team is looking into a new shifter mechanism for the steering wheel, as well as planning workshops. Shortly, work will begin on the wiring harness once all parts on the car have been finalised. In conjunction with the Aerodynamics team, the Control Systems team are looking into the activation methods required for the DRS.
The Data Acquisition team are working on the mass analysis spreadsheets in conjunction with the Vehicle Dynamics team, ensuring that OBR17 is optimised in terms of balance. The team have also worked on some sensor issues with the Control Systems team to ensure that OBR16 can be used for testing.
The Suspension team are currently working on the analysis of both steel and carbon fibre wishbones for the new car. New designs have been developed for both constructions, and the team are producing Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulations in order to determine how they perform under the loads associated with the car. Simulations are also ongoing for the hub and upright designs, as the team begin to finalise their CAD models for each component. The team are also working on clevis designs to optimise their suspension geometry.
A major focus for the Vehicle Dynamics Group has been the change in design from a pull-rod to a push-rod actuated front suspension. The Lap Time Simulation team has produced a study which shows the aerodynamic and cooling benefits associated, which outweigh the minor increase in height of the centre of gravity. Overall, this should allow us to collect more points at competition while also meeting our reliability goals for the season. The Kinematics group is hard at work designing this new system, with inspiration from previous generations of the vehicle.
Statics and Off-Track
Focusing on the upcoming deliverable for the Business Logic Case, the Statics team are also developing a full project overview complete with timescales to ensure that all teams are producing designs and parts on time. The Off-Track team is working on putting together partnerships with potential sponsors, organising team events, and expanding their media output to ensure that OBR increases their exposure within the engineering industry.
It’s still early, but we’re all incredibly excited about competing once again next year. OBR’s aim – as always – is to emerge from the competitions as the best of the UK teams, and with the amount of talent we have on board with us, this is a very realistic prospect.
Thank you all for your support of Oxford Brookes Racing, and here’s to a successful 2017!
Words by Jake Boxall-Legge