WRITTEN BY: GARETH THOMAS

Six months after the Formula Student event in the UK the Edith Cowan University Racing team was ready to compete in Australia. After a 12th place finish in the UK the team was eager to improve on its previous performance. As well as show off their hard work in producing the custom engine that has gained them a lot of world wide attention. The engine based off a Honda CBR600RR motorcycle engine but certain parts have been carried over. The stock internals have been retained but are now housed inside a custom machined block to accommodate a reversed head; and also enabled us to drop the crank center line down 120mm, seat the engine further forward to improve the weight distribution, and direct the exhaust out the back of the engine. Front facing intake which greatly improved the heat dissipation and insulation. The custom engine and its related systems has allowed the team to improve the packaging of the car allowing for weight reduction and a lower centre of gravity overall.

Being able to do maintenance work on Emma at Monash University  made life easier in the lead up to the competiton and allowed us to do testing on the car and make sure it was running as smoothly as it had ever since the UK competition. This proved to be a worthwhile investment of our time as we were able to make a few minor changes to the car and make sure that nothing had gone wrong in transit. While a small  team was out testing the majority of the team were hard at work making sure that the static events were well prepared for and up to as higher standard as the dynamic events would be run. Trying to capitalize on the points that are available during the static events as they are almost as important as the dynamic events,  the team were up until the early hours of the morning trying to refine the final touches to the presentations that would be delivered in a matter of days.

Thursday we arrived at Calder Park Raceway and got straight down to business, setting up the pit garage and making sure the car got though scrutineering as swiftly as possible. The team managed to get the car into scrutineering before the end of the day but suffered to get through due to a minimal amount of time left in the day. The team then set out to try and fix a few issues before the tracks closing time, but the team was not deterred as it was a very successful first day.

Arriving early Friday morning the team managed to make the required changes to the car and were able to complete scrutineering before the start of the static events which was a big achievement for the team. The car weighed in at 184Kg which was 2.5 less than the weight at the UK competition making the car one of, if not the lightest 4 cylinder with aero in the world. Which was a positive boost for the team as it meant all the hard work between the UK and Australia to lose some weight really had paid off, also reassuring the team that our design philosophy has really worked this year.

Saturday was the start of the Dynamic events. Skidpad and acceleration were up first. Acceleration a 0-75 meter drag strip style run, the team were confident that the car could post a competitive time due to positive testing times, but no one knew how fast Emma would be on the Calder Park surface. The car put in an initial time of 3.93 at the hands of Nathan Van Vugt. However Max Benson put in a blistering acceleration time of 3.802 seconds later in the day, the team was stoked to see all the hard work had materialized on the track into a truly amazing time and thanks to this time Edith Cowan University Racing won the acceleration event by an amazing 0.2 seconds. We had similar success with the skidpad event although not able to topple Monash University, we came second by 0.006 seconds but the team was still postivie with a second place finish. For those who don't know Skidpad is a figure-of-8 circuit that tests how well the car corners and maintains traction under a high-G load. The car then returned to the garage where preparations were made for the Autocross event. This is a one lap time trial on the Endurance track just in the opposite direction testing a car’s upper limit in cornering, acceleration and braking. It is one of the most important events as the best time that the team achieves determines the starting position for the endurance event on Sunday. Daniel Moreirashowed what the car had to give putting the car into 3rd place giving the team a very good position for the endurance event on the Sunday.

Sunday the most important day of the competition points wise, worth a maximum 300 points available for a winning endurance run plus 100 for economy. The endurance is the hardest dynamic event as the car has to travel 22 kilometers around a circuit with a driver change after the first 11 kilometers. The car has to restart without any outside assistance. The team used the first run to get a solid time with our drivers Nathan Van Vugt and Thomas Ayres, the drivers put a great time in and only hit a few cones putting the team in a great position. Our other drivers Daniel Moreira and Andrew Prince put in a faster time and put the car through its paces and this super human effort gave the team the points for a second place finish overall with 881 points our highest ever points finish in the team’s history. The team’s success amounted into the smallest ever margin in recent history to the 6th time winner, Monash. The team had a great time in Melbourne coming 2nd overall for the second time and look forward to returning in 2015 with the new rules posing a new challenge for all those involved and looking forward to see all the latest innovations from all the other teams who compete.

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