Since we last heard from the Team Bath Racing (TBR) teams at Bath University, manufacturing has continued at a rapid pace, in spite of the students' winter exams! The TBR14 team is determined to meet its engineering and assembly schedule and leave plenty of time for thorough testing, once the car is complete.
"Things are going well and we're in the process of arranging our launch day at the end of May," says TBR14 business manager, Franco Botes. "Actually, we've just built half of our monocoque and started laying that out for the autoclave this week. We’ve recently been focused on a 1 April deadline for finishing the monocoque, and the chassis team is working really hard."
Meeting such assembly deadlines is critical. Time is counting down to not one but three competitions this year, with entry secured into the UK, Germany and Austria Formula Student competitions.
This means a packed season starting at Silverstone from 9 to 13 July, then to Hockenheimring from 29 July to 3 August, and finally to Red Bull Ring from 17 to 20 August.
With a long season ahead of them, the TBR14 team is committed to getting everything right before Silverstone through a process of continual refinement.
One of the key areas the TBR14 team seeks to refine is the powertrain. The Aprilia RXV550 race engine that competed in Germany has been stripped down, and is now fitted with a new bearing suite and all new seals.
A new radiator is also on the way. Because the radiator is one of the last pieces of the design process for the powertrain, it is important that the team package it correctly using 3D CAD.
Franco explains, "We're constantly tweaking our design based on what our manufacturers and sponsors can do for us. The whole car is CADded out, which will enable us to fit our new radiator into the car properly. This would have been much more difficult if we didn't have the 3Dconnexion SpaceMouse Pro.”
According to Franco, the TBR14 team has become quite accustomed to the ease and speed of manipulation that comes with a 3D mouse, to the extent that “a lot of the people on the chassis team now find it unnatural whenever they don't have a SpaceMouse Pro in their left hand!"
TBR15 Design Begins
With the TBR14 car edging ever closer to completion, it is also time for a new team to step forward for 2015. TBR15's first task is to investigate the feasibility of overall vehicle concepts—including, for the first time in TBR history, an electric powertrain concept—and determine where performance gains might be made.
Many of the students in TBR15 will bring with them a rich new source of experiences from their industrial placements, including at Jaguar Land Rover, at F1 teams such as McLaren and Williams F1, plus at first tier suppliers such as BP and Cosworth.
And with the significant experiences and know-how of their TBR13 and TBR14 peers to draw upon, it's clear that TBR15 is off to a great start.
Countdown To Silverstone
Back in the present Formula Student season, TBR14's business manager Franco is feeling confident.
“Our aim is to be the top UK team and then to beat our top European rivals,” said Franco. “We are creating a good chance for ourselves by combining a fast car design with a greater emphasis on reliability. We've got a very motivated leadership team for the chassis, powertrain, manufacturing, business and testing operations backed up by a capable team of whom many have already gained a year’s work experience in industry. It helps that a lot of them are also enormous petrol-heads!”
Have questions for the Team Bath Racing squad? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll be sure to ask them during our next check-in.
In the meantime: Go Team Bath Racing!
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