Track Day 13th March 2023
On the 13th of March we set out to Sydney Motorsport Park for a day of aerodynamic testing on our 2022 EV Annie. Our track days normally are for one of two purposes: to obtain real-life testing data for our technical team to help base their future decisions on, or to provide an opportunity for team members to undergo driver training in simulated events.
We set out on this track day wanting to find an optimal ride height where the centre of gravity (CG) is as low as possible whilst maintaining sufficient airflow through the undertray. Finding this balance gives us a mix between handling and aerodynamic performance, and from this we can optimise the overall performance of our EVs.
An initial shakedown and a few laps of a skidpad style track (figure-8 driving) to get some initial data was done, however black clouds and rain made their way over SMSP. This meant we had to swap our racing slicks for wet tyres. Unfortunately, we had to forego our testing goals because of this and opted to forge ahead with the day but with a different goal in mind- driver training.
“Skillful pilots gain their reputation in storms and tempest”. This quote from Epicurus, a Greek philosopher, embodies why we run the car in the wet. Our drivers don’t shy away from the chance to get out in the rain, as opportunities to train in these conditions are few and far between- especially for new members. The skills our drivers can develop in these conditions are invaluable and enable us to perform even in the worst of weather.
After completing a final setup, Annie was ready to send it at SMSP. While the spray and mist spat up by the wet tyres is a visual masterpiece, a wet track is not to be taken lightly. We continued ahead with some skidpad training, giving our prospective drivers a taste of what the event is all about. After running through the roster, we swapped the dizzying skidpad driving for a less car-sickness inducing autocross track layout.
Autocross is all about how fast you can complete a lap of the track, and the rain provided an additional challenge for our drivers not to spin! Valuable experience was gained on this track day, with all our drivers putting in 110% effort to set the fastest lap around the track and gain some precious bragging rights over everyone else.
Despite the weather, our heads were held high at the end of another productive track day. While we didn’t get the data we wanted- there will always be another opportunity to do so. We packed up our marquee, track boxes, and equipment in the wet and began the journey back to the University of Wollongong.
This track day despite the weather, was a fantastic opportunity for the team! We could not have done it without support from our friends at Sydney Motorsport Park and the Australian Racing Drivers’ Club, as well as the University of Wollongong for their continued support of the team.