Last weekend was the UK Formula Student event held at Silverstone. Like last year we were blessed with the most temperamental weather England had to offer, it ranged from chucking-it-down to sunny summer at least 3 times a day. A staggering 92 entries competed in the event from over 30 different countries. The quality and technology in some of the single seater racers blows me away every year.
Not having completed the Endurance stage last year, for 4 years infact, our main goal was to finish it and obviously do the same in every over event. On the soaking Saturday morning we completed the Acceleration and Skid-pan events with times in the top half of the ranking. In the afternoon the weather began clearing up and I would be driving the Sprint event on the course setup along the old main straight of Silverstone. Usual racing drama ensued with teams watching the skies very closely to ensure they would complete a run in the dry, we got out early and after a few delays I set a 10th place time.
On my first runs I encountered a yellow flag as one of the preceding cars had a problem. To keep things fair you’re granted a re-run. The first lap of the video was my quickest, luckily no cones were hit as they would incur a 2 second penalty. On the last run the nightmare happened, I broke a second wheel center after braking in the hairpin complex. We broke our first wheel center the day before during the brake test for scrutineering, all the spokes snapped in one big swoop.
At this point we weren’t quite sure what was happening, these wheels had endured a few years of use with no hint of trouble and then we broke two in a weekend. 7075 Ali is aircraft grade so technically shouldn’t be subject to much degradation, but all the fractures were brittle.
With the main goal being finishing the Endurance race, driving at a competitive pace would have likely caused another center to give way, so we decided to nurse the car home finishing 19th. The one benefit was low fuel consumption giving an 8th place finish in fuel economy.