1 step forward, 2 steps back

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Recently we made the decision to create an improved car working on what we’ve already learned. It was only then that we realized that this  would involve re-scaling the car completely. This included unscrewing; jigsawing and re-screwing. we’ve made drastic changes to the car. The original height was 600 mm but after making all the changes the height is now 400 mm. This is approximately 25% of the car. Once the sides are firmly reattached we only have 2 main projects: lower the bonnet and reshape the back.



 

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ANOTHER STEP!

This year one of goals was to finish our team board in our school, we printed photos and updated the information. We started off with a few ideas but finally decided on a huge collage as we had too many great photos. This has taken one thing off of our long “to do” list. Next step, Finish the car. Greenpower board.

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Rockingham International Final

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Scraped through qualification for the international final at Rockingham Motor Speedway.

3 hour drive to be in the pit garage 7.30am to set up car for practice, prep slowed by puncture, passed  scrutineering, data log from race control fitted, driver briefing done and out on track.

Race 1. With such a large grid and a tight circuit, the race started with a rolling start behind the safety car as the front of the grid would have completed their lap before the back markers got away raising safety issues so the safety car could pace the lap to make sure all had set off.

90 minutes 2 pit stops fingers crossed and stop watches busy, our lap times seemed comparatively slow but the competition was the best in the world and we started 78th.

Race 2. Early to grid for VIP grid walk Helicopters. TV. Dave Richards, and more all before another rolling start.

We decided to turn up the power for more speed balanced against the batteries lasting the 90 minutes.

unsheduled pit stop on first lap caused panic but quick thinking and strategy change meant we only lost one lap through driver being ill. The rest of race was looking good but we ran out of power on last lap and were classified 55th

So 55th in the championship from 500 schools

Fantastic day at such a great venue

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Castle Combe 2015

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Late September, Sunday morning, bright sunshine. New shape and new livery and all set for a great day.

Free practice went well and all looking good for race 1. Lap times were consistent, driver changes were pretty good and we finished 28th.

Gear change for race 2 should make the car faster but although all went well we finished 28th?

All tense waiting to hear if we had qualified for the international final.

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Rockingham Motor Speedway 2015

imageProper early start to get to the circuit for 7.30am. It Seems a bit early but it’s full on race preparation , Mot, drivers briefing, free practice, it’s full on for sure.

It was the hottest day, 34 degrees, no shade, it’s hot! 45 degree track temperature.

Greenpower success meant record breaking number of cars on the grid and we finished 28th both races, despite changing gear ratios between races

Moved us upto 62nd in the championship from 500 odd schools.

 

 

 

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Merryfield 2015

Joy at finishing the race

Merryfield 2015

Windy with impending thunder storm on a temporary circuit on the naval base airfield. Not as glamorous as historic Goodwood but with a short lap it proved more exciting.

Armed with race data from the previous race we changed the gear ratio, installed a dashboard with electronic read out so we could use our electronic speed controller to manage the power for the race distance and a hurriedly re-arranged back end to optimise the aerodynamics and power unit cooling.

Our goal was to finish both races without a tow truck.

No tow truck required, finished both races 11th and 12th and got a mention on the commentary.

Great racing wind swept and full of hay fever, the helmet was soaked inside with tears 😂

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Goodwood 2015

image4.0 am leave home,7.30 am arrived at Goodwood Motor Circuit for chainreactiongp’s first race of the season, frantic race preparation epoxy resin for nose cone, first time it had been fitted to the car. Batteries, brakes, new back power unit cover all had to be fitted for the first time, talk about leave it to the last minute! 8.30 Mot time, log book ready, car ready, we joined the queue for scrutineering. Passed our Mot, drivers briefing and rushed out for free practice. New batteries and ready for race one, 90 minutes of the historic Goodwood circuit. A last minute hitch with the brakes meant we had to start from the pit lane. Putting in consistent lap times and good pit stops, but the power gave out and Lydia who was driving decided she should retire to the pits, but frantic signalling from the track side telling her to stay out and cross the line to get the extra mileage, she got the message and ended up on the recovery truck half a lap later.

Race two started from the grid seat belt issue cost us two laps and then power failure with 5 minutes to go and poor Lydia returned to the pits on the recovery truck after a 45 minute wait. 3 hour journey home. image

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A chainreaction at chainreaction

imageA carbon fibre bonnet for light weight and aerodynamic shape and following the the f1 norm.

When you are 13 years old the use of such exotic materials is exciting and proved a challenge.

With help from the people at “Matrix Composite Materials “who kindly donated all the materials we needed to make the mould. We set about making a “plug” an exact replica of what we wanted, so with MDF, foam and lashings of car body filler we managed to make what we wanted.

imageThe next stage was where we caused a “chain reaction” laying up layers of polyester fibreglass and lots of polyester resin that once mixed with the catalyst cross links through a chain reaction and thermosetting to a solid.

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The exciting bit cutting and laying up the carbon fibre cloth proved quite a challenge the cloth is very delicate and frayes just by looking at it.

We tried to economise on the resin and used polyester the results were good if you were go ing to paint it, but as we wanted the raw look it was a bit scruffy.imageWe had another go, this time with the help of “C12 Carbon Fibre Developments”. Who very kindly layed up and epoxied a more robust plain weave cloth vacuum bagged creating a lighter 900g much smarter bonnet.

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Are you sitting comfortably ?

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Driver comfort is not top priority in a race car. Our seat is fabricated from a single sheet of aluminium and formed in a traditional race car “bucket” style with neoprene foam padding.

The key, is its position within the car and it’s angle of repose.

The reclining angle did mean, upgrading the seat belt, to a 5 point harness. Significantly it means we can reduce the height of the drivers head in the car and therefore we can reduce the height of the roll bar, this in turn  reduces the amount of material needed reducing weight and drag.

We do however now need to reduce the height of the front roll cage as our smallest driver can no longer see out. We think this may be a safety issue?

 

 

 

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2014 in pictures

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2014 remembered, Lydia setting up brakes, school workshop car park, Lewis Hamilton Hungarian GP fire, formula E and it’s baby, Castle Combe race MOT sticker, car upgrades, drivers.

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