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Thread: Endurance racing series

  1. #1

    Endurance racing series

    I was thinking about an endurance counterpart to FSAE. The rules would be more relaxed and the big race would be something long like six hours. This way quality of build is the biggest factor. Safety would have to be more stringent as a lot of cars would be racing at once. I thought about this a while ago, but the thread on new rule ideas made me think of this again. If FSAE is formula 1, this would be Le Mans (i know FSAE isn't F1, but for the sake of this analogy it is). How does this sound?

    EDIT: That wasn't very well written but it got most of my points across well enough. Please excuse the poor grammar.

  2. #2
    Bump. I like this idea. But it's less likely to be a six hour race and more likely to be a last man standing race. That's if it's using the FSAE rules, plus a few extra racing rules for safety. However, if it's just a similar but distinctly different technical rule set it's unlikely to ever happen, as you'd struggle to get anyone to build a car for it.

    Having said that it would be cool to see am SAE/IMechE supported one-off special event of this type. Have it open for any team to enter, any car that has already competed at previous event that comply with say any regulations from the opening up of aero until now, with a few changes perhaps, that are easy/low cost to implement on a previous car. Perhaps even limit the entries to cars that already finished an endurance event at a registered competition. Although maybo not, there's probably a few cars out there that failed due to silly things that had loads more potential.

    Track would probably need to be longer with more marshalls, are we still running overtake bays or opening it up to wheel to wheel racing? I think wheel to wheel is still probably too dangerous, but overtake bays are dull and over such a long period marhsalls aren't going to be on the ball as much. Perhaps a system with trackers on the cars that record the delta between two cars, and every so often on some long straights the track splits into 2 with "traffic lights" on either side at the start and end, with green meaning head on through and red at the start meaning slow down while the other car passes you, and red at the end staying on until the other car passes the gate at the end of their straight. A priority lane would be the one on the racing line at corner exit, the car in front would always take this line, but it the light is red then they concede the place regardless.
    Brunel Racing
    2010-11 - Drivetrain Development Engineer
    2011-12 - Consultant and Long Distance Dogsbody
    2012-13 - Chassis, Bodywork & Aerodynamics manager

    2014-present - Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover

  3. #3
    I highly doubt a FSAE spec car build by students would be able to drive an endurance for over two hours. Regular test days are at most 4-5 endurances (lets say max 2 hours of driving over an entire day) and the cars generally are then overhauled bigtime. You would also need several sets of tires as LC0's last about 2 endurances and RB25s maybe a bit more. Don't know about other tires though, they might last for ages.

    No insurance company would pay/insure with open wheel-to-wheel racing FSAE cars. The cars have not been crash tested is one point and the open surfaces are, lets call it, plenty. So you would be stuck with the current concept which is demanding on your track marshals.

    Don't get me wrong, the idea is great and I like it. It would be the ultimate test of a well designed car to undergo an additional (real(ly long)) endurance race. I do think you would need a lot of support from external parties though.
    Delft '09 Team member, '10 - Chief Electronics
    'now' (Hardware) Security Engineer

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Perth, Western Australia
    Cool idea. The tyres is a non-issue as there are plenty of tyres that would last the distance on lightweight cars. I have been involved with more than one car that could do 2 hours on the trot without massive rebuilding. A higher priority on reliability and students could come up to the challenge.

    The bigger issue is fuel. At the moment most cars only pack enough fuel to travel say 30km on one tank. Refueling during competitions is dangerous, quick refueling is much worse. The low fuel capacity of FSAE cars is a real safety benefit at the moment. 5 litres of fuel can do a lot of damage, having a bunch of student built cars carrying 50litres or more could be a recipe for disaster.

    Still if the idea has legs our uni would look into it. We have a lot more endurance racing fans here than the shorter stuff.


  5. #5
    I think fueling can be made relatively safe. You said yourself you've been involved with cars that have done 2 hours on the trot, so refueling will be happening during team testing without issue (or none that I've heard about at least). Fighting against the clock makes it more dangerous, but that can be eliminated with clock stopping refueling events, much as with driver change, heck, why not combine the two? Add a few extra rules for the fuel filler neck design, making it more accessible, perhaps standardizing it's size, cap type and location a little more, so that all can be refilled with the same ease and safety by an event official.

    If fuel economy is still being monitored then have all refills done with pre-measured jerry-cans/vessels that the team can advise the official which volume to use at each stop. If the tank fills up before the vessel is empty then the team will simply pay a penalty and the full amount will be added to their total, adding to the engineering challenge of predicting/monitoring fuel consumption. There seemed to be a lot of otherwise good cars go out today due top low fuel level/fuel pressure issues.


    Today the endurance event is worth a huge amount of points, and yet the idiom "to finish first, first you have to finish" seems to fall mostly on deaf ears. We all know how to build a reliable car: keep it simple, do what you know and get it build early enough to test it to it's limits, not of performance, but of endurance. The added bonus is that with weeks/months of testing the performance of the cars and drivers will go up. A two plus hour endurance event for the upper echelon teams would drive them in this direction, and in turn they would set an example to the rest of the field when almost all of them finish endurance at the main competitions.
    It's this or I feel like not only should they miss out on endurance points if they don't finish, but their static event points should be slashed in half, especially business and design. Because they've "marketed" a car that doesn't do what they claim (it breaks down) and they have been rewarded for their design efforts and yet they must have cut corners somewhere the judges didn't spot because the car doesn't do what they supposedly designed it to do.

    When supposedly the greatest competition for future automotive engineers sees a failure rate between 50 and 75% at every competition, even from the top teams, something is very wrong. It doesn't exactly inspire confidence in the future of automotive technology.
    Brunel Racing
    2010-11 - Drivetrain Development Engineer
    2011-12 - Consultant and Long Distance Dogsbody
    2012-13 - Chassis, Bodywork & Aerodynamics manager

    2014-present - Engineer at Jaguar Land Rover

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