After the experience gained at the FSAE Michigan and the spectacular performance at the Baja SAE India the bigger and better IIT Bombay racing looked forward to Formula Student 2009 at Silverstone, the home of British motorsport. The car which was developed over little more than a year was lighter, faster and nippier than the 2008 Vayu. The highlights of Agni our entry to Formula Student 2009 was the 22% weight reduction, the integrated seat and firewall, engine producing 10% more horses, an all new 50% lighter drive train and 4 way adjustable shock absorbers. At the competition we would compete against the best of the universities in Europe and also the 5 other teams from India.
IIT Bombay Racing team was hosted in UK by Aston University in Birmingham. The team truly felt at home at the Aston University, with the interaction not only limited to their Formula Student team but also socially with team events and a launch. The car was final tested at the Bruntingthorpe test track in the UK.
The competition was organized over four days.
Day 1: Technical Inspection was the aim of the day this time round the team did not waste any time and queued in as soon as the vehicle was at the event site. The first technical inspection we saw a list of things to do being given to is the most difficult one of which was to change the rear bracing members of the chassis. This was because the members welded where 0.5mm off the required thickness of the rules, a mistake that was later traced to the steel pipe vendor. The modification requirements were completed by the following night. Meanwhile the team also prepared for the design, presentation and the cost events that where to be on Day 2.
Day2: This was the static event day, the most important one to us. The cost report and the Business case presentations went quite well while the team was subject to some encouragement as well as harsh criticism in the design event. The cost report was something the team had spent quite a bit of time and effort on and this was well appreciated by the cost judges. The presentation was delivered by the marketing team with a lot of confidence and finesse. The day ended with the results of the event. The team was 2nd in the Cost event and 9th in the presentation event which as a all time high for any team from India.
We performed very well in the remaining static events and cleared the Safety, Noise test and Tilt test in one shot. Our presentations at the Business and Cost events were really appreciated by the judges. They were impressed by the content as surprised to see an Asian team with such proficiency in English. They mentioned this point specifically after the presentation. We proceeded to the brake test after this. The objective was to lock all four wheels in sudden braking. Unfortunately there was some problem with the master cylinders in the braking circuit and its inner diaphragm was damaged. We had not anticipated this problem and had no spares for the master cylinders. Overnight we tried really hard to restore our brakes to their functional form but could only achieve partial braking with the master cylinders. Even though we could not participate in the dynamic events we were confident about our design and cost reports and were eagerly waiting for the results after our design presentation.
As expected, eight months of hard work paid off and for a second year team from India, our performance was pretty impressive. We were the Best Indian team at the competition with an overall rank of 57 out of 120 teams. We stood second in the cost event and ninth in the Business presentation event. Overall, it was a great experience at Formula Student-UK which will definitely help us in the future.