Status Racing News ...
On Monday 13 January 2020 the Status Racing team finally completed the carbon fibre body work of our new MK4 race car.
This may seem uneventful to those of you who are uniformed in such matters, but this is the end result of work which started way back in December of 2017! The team have been hard at work for a little over 3 years to get to this stage and are incredibly proud of the result!
It has been a MAMMOTH undertaking requiring many 100’s of man hours from students and staff members alike to complete. Any work done with carbon fibre is incredibly challenging, costly and labour intensive and is not something you will find attempted in school D&T departments very often! This is one of the reasons Formula 1 and motorsport in general is a very expensive business as they use this process a lot!
The end result is an incredibly light material, which is super strong. This body work weighs 50% less than the current MK3 car, and is also 30% more aerodynamic thanks to virtual wind tunnel testing and reducing the overall size. We hope this will move our team into the top 3 in the world which is our ultimate goal.
For those interested, the process (and labour!) is best shown by the photos in this week's newsletter, but essentially it involves the following:
- Make a skeleton model of the car shape you want in wood first (we laser cut the profiles in plywood on the school’s laser cutter from a CAD model).
- Insert cubes of foam into the skeleton and sand the foam smooth into a car shape.
- Cover it with body filler and then sand, paint and polish, and repeat that process for hours and hours until shiny and smooth.
- Take ‘moulds’ from this ‘polished shape’ by using Gel-coat and fibreglass. The mould had to be made in four parts to make removal of the finished part possible, further adding to the work!
- Put wax in the moulds to stop the part sticking and Lay carbon fibre and various other layers of breathing membrane into the mould.
- Insert into a giant plastic bag, make it air tight (harder than you will ever know!) and suck all the air out of it.
- Suck plastic resin through the bag with a giant straw and pump system so it covers all the carbon fibre evenly while sucking the air out.
- Wait two agonising days and open it up to admire your handiwork, or a very expensive disaster! (luckily, it was the former!)
What you see in the photos is just the rough body work, and probably only represents about 15% of the remaining build of the car! We still have to make:
Roll bars, Axles, four carbon fibre wheels, steering system, seat, harness, electrical system, ‘soft’ nose cone due to a rule book change, mount the motors, foam crash padding, brakes, and gearing system, fairings for the driver’s helmet, battery mounts, etc., etc.
On Monday 20 January, we also marked out the interior panels and did some tests to see who would fit in the car (as it’s now 30% smaller) – turns out, only small people! We will be doing a recruitment drive shortly to pick some new Years 7 or 8 students for the team so keep your eyes open for posters advertising this.
Please congratulate the current team on their progress – it may not seem much, but it’s a massive milestone to us! We are striving to have this car ready to race in the 2020 season, but there’s a long way still to go! Watch this space.
I’d also like to thank our current sponsors, without whom, this project would not be financially possible (this has already cost approx. £2.5k in materials and parts!): Fluor Engineering, Bam Nuttall, Beere Electrical Services Limited.
Current Team Members: Toby Lawrence, Sam Wragg, Seb Noble, Aryan Pande, Daniel James, Jack Baker, Kenton Jennings, Jake Willows, Nathan Cummings, Aaron Gibson, Dominik Buocik
Mr Winter – Head of Design and Technology Department and Teacher I/C Status Racing Team