I would like to thank all the volunteers throughout the weekend and organising the event. A lot of small things behind the scenes are done that go without notice (providing water to volunteers etc) so always grateful for their time. I definitely plan to help out marshalling/setting up/extra grunt work next year now that I have completed my studies.

The Track.
A few rules to keep things in perspective…
“D10.1 Competition Objective – A Reminder The Formula SAE® event is a design engineering competition that requires performance demonstration of vehicles and is NOT a race. Engineering ethics will apply. It is recognized that hundreds of hours of labor have gone into fielding an entry into Formula SAE. It is also recognized that this event is an “engineering educational experience” but that it often times becomes confused with a high stakes race. In the heat of competition, emotions peak and disputes arise. Our officials are trained volunteers and maximum human effort will be made to settle problems in an equitable, professional manner
D7.1 Autocross Objective The objective of the autocross event is to evaluate the car's maneuverability and handling qualities on a tight course without the hindrance of competing cars. The autocross course will combine the performance features of acceleration, braking, and cornering into one event.
D7.2 Autocross Course Specifications & Speeds
D7.2.1 The following standard specifications will suggest the maximum speeds that will be encountered on the course. Average speeds should be 40 km/hr (25 mph) to 48 km/hr (30 mph). NOTE: the actual average speed for any track will depend on the prevailing conditions and the area available to the organizers in which the track is setup, therefore the quoted speeds are intended as a rough guide only.
D7.2.4 The organizers reserve the right to deviate from the parameters specified in this rule, D7.2, when they determine it is appropriate given the characteristics of a particular competition site.
D8.27 Endurance Event – Driver’s Course Walk The endurance course will be available for walk by drivers prior to the event. All endurance drivers are required to walk the course before the event starts”

I apologise to the volunteers and other teams for being upset/angry early Thursday. Having seen a serious injury in a workplace has always made me doubly sure of safety in a work environment – FSAE included. Hence my emotion towards this issue. I realise in hindsight that this was the wrong way to present my issues with the track and followed the procedures outlined in the event handbook. I hope that my views didn’t come across as ‘abuse’, which is a pretty strong statement to make and ensure everyone that at no point did I raise my voice/swear/call anyone names/use offensive terms. I also apologise on behalf for all the students – from majority of the teams - who complained to the volunteers but maintain that their intentions were for safety and safety alone.

I made a post earlier in the year (under FSAE Safety I think) and mentioned that I was concerned with the placement of tyre barriers on the outside of corners in the line of braking at FSUK. Similar thoughts were had given the track I saw on Thursday of comp.

It is of my opinion that FSAE cars are not built to be crashed. Whilst there is an IA for the front and rules on the mid-section for side impacts plus technical inspection and many rules that help with safety, none of these measures are good for impacts on a diagonal – or any angle that isn’t 0 or 90. Think back to Senna’s death where a wishbone impacted the helmet – something an impact with barriers in a FSAE car could result in (given the open wheel nature). Not saying this will happen but consider that these are not high performance racecars with 5 star safety ratings – they are ‘weekend racers’ built by students. Read the rules above. Also there aren’t professional drivers so to expect them to know how to correct a mistake isn’t a possibility.

"Tyre barriers out of that original track and it would have been an acceptable track as it was." Kev

Yes. Tyre barriers – along with the section between the wall and kerb – were placed in areas where in worst case scenario (wheel centre braking, suspension failure, throttle stuck, brake failure, flat tyre, driver error , all I have seen in competitions in just the past two years) could happen and a heavy impact with them would be a result. This was my only issue with the track. The tyres were not ‘some loose tyres’ but were drilled together and therefore required a forklift to move them about.

On Thursday afternoon I went around with a few other teams in the aim to keep the track layout the same but improve the safety of both drivers and marshals and whilst I was in the process of trying to make our suggestions clearer and so all teams knew (instead of scribbled down on a notepad) Rob came over and we had a discussion. He said he would take those views and keep working on the track which he did.

On Friday, after it was announced the track was finished there was still a few tyre barriers left but was hugely safer (in my opinion). I wanted the tyre barriers gone from certain sections and was not entirely confident of the kerb/wall section still even with the lane changers in there. Please note I made no comments after this day towards any section of the track

On Sat, I decided to walk the track at the end of the skipad/accel for the first time (spent the morning learning the track from the video and pace notes quietly in the grandstands), I noticed the tyre barriers were gone and a few cones were changed. The track layout itself wasn’t changed – if you had walked the track Friday you would know where to go Saturday bar maybe an extra offset slalom I think at top of the hill and slight change in the section before wall/kerb. Removing the barriers was going to change the track (changing marshal placement and how far they had to go to pick up cones) – I think Rob did a good job to do it so quickly and without changing the track considerably.

On Sunday, I was on third lap of track walk (driving for 2nd endure so could spend more time learning the track) when some volunteers came around changing the track. Not sure why they were doing so, but was only slight changes to make it more flowing? I made sure to not get involved and waited till they had finished doing the changes. Anyway, it wasn’t a huge change (really slow slalom stuff) and the major sections stayed the same (a tip: remember ‘sections’ of the track rather than individual corners ie a set of offset slaloms rather than left right left right). I don't get the view that the track was being changed so quickly that no one knew where they were going. Everyone still got to do a track walk. If anything, last year I saw more lost drivers due to the direction changes across the track.

At no point did I hear anyone complain to Rob or his team to make it more flowing/faster/slower/point and shooters/sweepers because they didn’t ‘like’ the track or think it wasn’t ‘cool’ enough for our ‘racecars’.

Drivers may not know the track (but are required to walk the track prior as per rules), but pointer cones are placed such that it helps with direction changes. These huge changes weren’t placed in high speed sections (if I remember correctly). I can double check later as the team (two members) updated the track but kept previous iterations.
So I will be able to do a ‘change progression sheet’ in January if anyone really wants to know…

For future events, maybe some input from Alumni from different teams could help out with the track safety given they know the ability and experience variance of both cars and drivers.

"The slow speeds experienced last weekend were ridiculous." - Anonymous

In summary, I think the resulting track was good safety wise.
In the end, that is all that matters. Thanks to the volunteers.