Estonia's first electric formula race car
FS Team Tallinn season 2012/2013
Yet another season is successfully set behind us and it's time to look back. This time the competitions once again took us to the other side of the Atlantic ocean but we also managaed to make our mark in Europe.
The stroy began last autumn when we had won Formula Student Hungary. We then promised to leave the ICE in the past and go electric. We knew ringht from the start that it would take loads of more time, effort and money and for that very reason we initially decided to take two years to complete our first electric formula. But ambitions sometimes get out of control and this occasion was no exception.
Even before the snow had melted, it started to feel more and more plausible to get the electric formula running the same year. So, we signed up for the competitions in Hungary and for Baltic Open in Finland. In addition, in the beginning of the season we had decided to take up another challenge and compete in Nothern America with our last ICE - the FEST12.
This meant that in the end of April we packed up the FEST12 and sent it to the States. The team followed a week later. The competitions in North America were awesome. To begin with, even the cultural shock was rather overwhelming because for many of it was the first visit to the country of the Yanks. But even more impressive was our success. In tough competiton we managed to get the 2nd place overall among over a hundred teams. Only the Stuttgart team from Germany were better than us. The Europeans were triumphant :)
A bit more than a week after Formula SAE Michigan we headed even further north - to Canada. The Formula North took place and it was just as successful for us - as they say 'Forever the 2nd'. There were not as many teams - only 26 - but the competition was still at least as tough. Our drivers said that our success was mainly held back by the endurance. Usually this is what we do best but this time the track was not favourable for our rather big and heavy car. It was made for light and small vehicles.
But never mind with that. Back home we continued work on the FEST13. We had to get it up and running for the Baltic Open that took place in the beginning of August. Our friends in Finland were waiting. Unfortunately it appeared that the work on the electric formula was trickier than our optimistic expectations and, therefore, only the FEST08, the FEST10 and the FEST12 sailed to Finland. The FEST13 had to stay in the base. Luckily, though, the FEST12 was as good as we'd expected and our veteran members were also up for the challenge. In jolly good mood we took the overall first place with the FEST12 and the FEST08 and the FEST10 were respectively the 12th and the 9th. Not quite as good as last year but nevertheless good work!
And now to the most important part. With no time to spare, our first electric powered formula race car FEST13 was ready for the FSH. We were really inexpressively happy. None of us thought it was too tedious to take the FEST13 for its first run in the TUT underground parking lot at midnight. The electric race car is really just as soundless as the wind but it has loads and loads of power. So, on the 20th of August we held our last pre competition field test (test number three for the FEST13) and after that headed straight to Hungary.
To be frank, our main goal was to simply test our skills. There was no point in hoping for a good result. Since our formula was completed so late, we had no time for testing and because our time was almost entirely spent on getting the car running, we had merely no time to prepare for the statics. All we could do was try and give our best and so we did. We surprised our competitors and ourselves by finishing all events but one - the most important - the endurance. Only two and a half laps before finishing the 36-lap-long race our battery cells were damaged due to overheating and we were forced to park the FEST13 off the track. What a shame! And probably none of us knows what was our overall result. That just didn't matter.
Despite damaging the battery packs and not making it to Finland with the FEST13, we still learned so much. We found out that our electric formula is super fast even without proper set-up. That means the whole next season (2013/2014) shall be dedicated to complete our electric formula (that in Hungary was named Justin Time for making it to the dynamics with not a moment to spare) to be completed early enough to get plenty of testing, a suitable set-up and preparedness to leave the competitors far behind us. The next summer is all about winning :)