Friday, 29 July 2016
At just 10 per cent of the weight of the average family vehicle, Edith Cowan University Motorsport Team’s latest race car proved that fast things can come in small packages.
The latest version is the result of thousands hours of work by Bachelor of Technology (Motorsports) students in ECU’s dedicated motorsport workshop.
The team recently placed 10th out of a field of more than 100 teams from 33 countries at the Formula Student event at Silverstone in the UK, which according to Motorsport Engagement Coordinator John Hurney was a testament to the hard work and technical know-how of the team.
“Using carbon fibre and aluminium-honeycomb for much of the car’s chassis we are able keep the weight of the car down,” he said.
“We have also designed the engine block and gearbox ourselves, which has been fitted to a Honda cylinder head engine internals and camshafts. This allowed us to make the engine more compact as well as reduce the car’s overall weight.”
As well as mechanical know-how, a modern motorsport team requires a high level of skill in digital engineering programs.
“We assess all of the car’s aerodynamic properties digitally through computational fluid dynamics (CFD) programs. The only other way to do the same work is with a wind tunnel, which is costly and time consuming,” Mr Hurney said.
The team has also made use of advanced finite element analysis (FEA) software that allows the precise measurement of strength relative to weight of the car’s construction.
“Basically this allows us to hit the ‘sweet spot’ where each part of the car is strong enough, while minimising its weight,” Mr Hurney said.
“This digital analysis is exactly the kind of skills that are in demand not just in professional motorsport teams, but in the automotive industry as a whole.”
The race car has been dubbed ‘Habibi’ in honour of School of Engineering Head Professor Daryoush Habibi.
The team also picked up the award for best engine design at Silverstone.
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