11 Months of Engineering and 4 Successful Competitions

FS Team Tallinn season 2010/11

        In September 2010 FS Team Tallinn started recruiting new members since many of our present members had finished their studies in the universities and were therefore not able to continue with the project.

           Our new team started designing and constructing FEST11. Unlike FEST10, which was the advanced model of FEST09, FEST11 was designed from scratch. We started by choosing the engine. As with our previous models, we chose a four-cylinder Yamaha R6, which originated from a motorcycle. Aprilia SXV 550 V2 was also considered but our team was hesitant about its reliability on a racing circuit. After a long and adventurous season it is good to admit that our choice was right, during the races we saw other teams having lots of problems with the Aprilia SXV engine.

           FEST11 drove its first meters on May the second in the backyard of Tallinn University of Applied Sciences. We had three months until the competition began. Positive emotion motivated us to work even harder on testing the formula. The new suspension kinematics enabled us to use various settings for different dynamic events. In order to find the best possible settings for the suspension system, we needed to test it systematically on a circuit. While most of us were busy finding the best set-ups for the car, the composite team worked hard on the body and aerodynamical elements. FEST11 was complete just a week before heading for competitions in Europe. After eleven months of hard work the formula was finally finished and a long list of competitions was waiting us in Europe.

  View on the Red Bull racing complex in Spielberg, Austria
View of the Red Bull racing complex in Spielberg, Austria

The first competition took place on Red Bull racing circuit in Spielberg, Austria from 27th to 30th of July. To our great surprise we did not initially pass the technical control and were therefore not allowed to start the competition. There were some minor problems and mechanical solutions that were not in accordance with the rules. The following two days of intense discussions with the judges and sleepless nights working on the formula paid off. We passed technical control after building a new steering wheel and welding additional members to the frame. Taking seventh place in the competition of 32 teams and becoming third in skid-pad was a beautiful reward for our efforts. We are very much satisfied with our result since the brakes were overheated during the endurance race. Furthermore, during the drivers change our hearts literally stopped as the engine did not start on the first attempt. It seemed as the 2010 Michigan scenario, where we were not able to continue our race due to ignition problems, was becoming a reality once again. Great was our relief when the engine finally, though laboriously, started.

FS Team Tallinn after racing in Austria

           Our next milestone was the Hockenheim competition from 3rd to 6th of August in Germany. Before the race we stopped at our competitors’ in Coburg University, Germany to improve the cooling of the breaks, as this was one of the main problems during the race in Austria. Late night testing in a deserted mountainous parking lot outside Coburg gave us confidence to start the new competition – the brake temperatures were a lot lower than in Austria. The Hockenheim competition started well for us, we passed the technical control with no major problems. During the theoretical part of the competition we showed great presentation skills. For the first time in the history of FS Team Tallinn we managed to get into the final of the design event. Since the competition in Germany is one of the top-level competitions in Formula Student series, one might say FEST11 belongs to the top 10 of the best engineered Formula Student cars in the world.

After the endurance race, in parc-ferme.

Despite the smooth start of the competition, we later had to admit again - motorsport is full of bad luck. After lining up for the autocross it began to rain heavily. This meant that we had already lost to most of the teams who had finished their autocross. That was not a nice feeling. Despite the problems in the morning we drove a fast and steady endurance, which gave us an 11th place overall in Germany. A decent result, although everyone felt that we could have done better.

FEST11 shows it´s backlights to the competitors – endurance race in Germany

           The third competition of the season took place in Györ, Hungary. During the previous races we had learned the characteristics and performance of FEST11, which made the event less intense. In general there were no problems during the competition except for the oil temperature, which rose to 170 degrees Celsius due to extremely hot weather. Despite the weather and some minor problems, FS Team Tallinn achieved its best result ever – we took fourth place among 28 teams. An additional emotional value was added to our efforts by the fact that we beat the fifth place with only 0.8 points. So, by now we had finished already three races successively, which in Formula Student series is an achievement itself.

You have to be stylish in front of the camera

        The fourth and the last event of the year took place in Karlstad, Sweden. Baltic Open is an unofficial competition for Formula Student race cars, which we had won two times in a row. Furthermore, the last year’s competitions held in Estonia, resulted in a double win for our team. Our goal this time was to defend our trophy and perform excellent with our previous cars FEST10 and FEST08. After the first day we placed fourth, but the free training on the second day began with a catastrophe.

FS Team Tallinn in the city centre of Karlstad, Sweden

FEST11 collided with a tractor tyre due to which the front right wishbone, pushrod and tie rod broke. There was less than two hours until the end of autocross and it seemed that there was nothing that could be done in such a short time. However, our instructor Ruben Lend motivated us to give our very best to fix FEST11. This again tested the unity and collaboration of our team. And again - we made it! FEST11 was fixed within 90 minutes. The assembly of the front right corner was finished thanks to the work of Aare Truska, the member of our veteran team FEST10, who helped us to weld new levers. Since FEST11 had not driven yet, we had the first priority on track. To our greatest satisfaction, our first driver managed to get the second fastest lap of the day. There were no problems during the endurance race and we finished this season’s fourth competition in a row. The team returned home with the second place trophy, which was just a wonderful end to our long and challenging month in Europe.

In conclusion it is satisfactory to admit that the 2010/2011 season confirmed the competitiveness of FS Team Tallinn. We have become a much more stable organisation; having managed to finish all the races in top pole positions. This gives us a great starting point for the next season, when we want to compete for the absolute top.

Thank you very much for being a valuable part of our success!