CREATE Education have been a sponsor of Loughborough University’s Formula Student since the beginning of 2016 and it is great to see how their year progressed and how they integrated 3D printing into their workflow.
LUMotorsport is Loughborough University’s Formula Student team and comprises solely of student volunteers who each year design and build a single seater racing car from scratch. Here at Loughborough the team is open to students from any course and any year of study. As a result of this Formula Student does not count towards the team members’ degrees, and has to be fitted around their studies.
The 2016 season
The 2016 season saw a different set of challenges for LUMotorsport; having run a Honda CBR engine for many years a new Triumph Daytona 675 presented the Powertrains team with a steep learning curve.
The 2016 Formula Student regulations specify a maximum displacement of 610cc. To comply, the team had to reduce the engine’s displacement; this was achieved through the design and use of a custom crankshaft. With the Triumph engine presenting new opportunities the decision was taken to make LFS16 the team’s first boosted car. Fitted with a Mitsubishi Turbocharger the team targeted the 100bhp mark trying to reclaim some of the power lost to a reduced displacement and mandatory 20mm air restrictor. In developing this unique powertrain the team had to develop several custom parts. The exhaust manifold (shown below) was initially prototyped using the team’s 3D printer and then finally produced externally in Inconel.
Formula Student UK is held at Silverstone every year and was the debut event for LFS16. The car put on a strong display in the dynamic events and its design attracted praise and interest from Judges and fellow competitors alike. Against the odds the new engine performed faultlessly, an impressive feat considering its short development time. LFS16 achieved 35th place overall and a very respectable 5th out of the 47 UK cars competing.
Almost immediately after the UK event had finished, the team hit the road for FSAE Italy. This was the first occasion that LUMotorsport had visited the Italian event which is held at the Riccardo Paletti Circuit near Parma.
With daytime temperatures rarely falling below 35 degrees it was an uncomfortably hot week for a team more accustomed to the considerably cooler climate of the East Midlands. LFS16 looked set for a strong finish in the dynamic events until a stub axle failed during the sprint lap. The resulting damage to the car put the team out of contention and cast serious doubt as to whether repairs could be made in time for the Austrian event just days away. Despite this setback the team still finished in 26th place.
Within moments of the car being returned to the pits in Italy the team were on the phone to Loughborough University’s workshop organising replacement parts. The parts were quickly produced and rushed from over a thousand miles away to meet
the team in under 48 hours! On route to the Red Bull Ring the team stopped at the workshop of UAS Graz, a fellow Formula Student team, to make the necessary repairs.
The Spielberg based event pitched LFS16 against an impressive array of machinery. The field consisted of some of the most competitive teams in Formula Student from right across the globe. The Loughborough car finished 19th and was the top scoring UK team.
Before LFS16 was even back on home soil designs for the 2017 car were underway. The team is now hard at work building LFS17’s chassis ready for the coming season and testing with LFS16 to improve this year’s design.
Members of the team were invited to talk at a meeting of the Peterborough Joint Panel (IMechE members) to talk to its members about how the 2016 car performed, and to introduce Formula Student to those who may not have previously have heard of the competition.
In October the team was also invited to present to the guests of Loughborough University during their powertrains event, alongside speakers from academia and industry. The car was also presented to the Minister for Universities and Science, Jo Johnson, when he visited Loughborough to open the West Park Teaching Hub.
Aerodynamics testing was undertaken at Curborough Sprint Course in early December. A variety of straight-line constant speed tests, combined with coast down runs allowing the new aerodynamics team to gather data to verify their simulation work.
Looking to 2017
For the 2017 season the team will be aiming to extract even more power from the new Triumph engine. The 100bhp target remains and the goal is to develop one of the most powerful Formula Student engines competing today. With an all new and very keen aerodynamics team LFS17 will feature upgraded aerodynamics building on the developments made this year. The team is currently targeting the UK, German and Spanish events to compete at in 2017.