Regular visitors to this site will know that Lane Motorsport provides interconnection solutions – primarily based on the Souriau 8STA platform – to the Formula Student team at Loughborough University (LU Motorsport). Souriau’s 8STA circular connectors are ideal for applications where high performance, small size and light weight are key factors – most notably in the motorsport sector. Lane is an assembling distributor for Souriau connector products and offers standard connectors from stock and customer specific connectors assembled to order on short lead times.
The Formula Student programme tasks a university team to produce a prototype for a single-seat race car for autocross or sprint racing and present it to a hypothetical manufacturing firm. The car must be low in cost, easy to maintain and reliable, with high performance in terms of its acceleration, braking, and handling qualities.
During the competition, teams must demonstrate the logic behind their proposal and must be able to demonstrate that it can support a viable business model for both parties.
Loughborough’s 2018 car, known as LFS18, was an improvement over last year’s car thanks to some significant changes aimed at saving weight and improving driveability. The car weighed in at 215.5kg with fluids, down from 230kg the year before. This was mainly thanks to the teams change from 13in wheels to 10in wheels that required a full redesign of the suspension geometry and chassis.
Season’s ups and downs
According to Josh Harris, Deputy Team Leader at LU Motorsport, the car put in a very strong performance at Silverstone finishing 5th in Skidpad, 5th in Acceleration 10th in Autocross and 8th in Endurance.
“Overall the team finished in 10th place, our highest finishing position since 2010. During the Endurance event we also won the ‘Top Individual Driver’ award for one of the drivers. Said Josh Harris.
“The team set off to Europe immediately after the UK event to compete in Formula Student East held at the ZalaZone in Hungary. We were on a high after FSUK but unfortunately the car suffered an issue that caused it to impact the crash barriers within the test area. Most importantly, the driver was completely uninjured. However, the car suffered some bodywork and suspension damage. The team worked extremely hard to fix the car but unfortunately missed the opportunity to set an acceleration/skid pad time by a matter of minutes.” Adds Josh Harris
However, the team was able to get the car out to complete three Autocross laps before a clutch issue stopped the final run. The car set a great lap time even without any aerodynamic bodywork fitted. After completing the Endurance event the following day, the team secured an overall finishing position of 24th.
Following FS East the team travelled to FS Czech. The team spent most of the build-up rebuilding the aero package after spare parts were sent out. The car passed scrutineering seconds before they closed before dynamic events – it was a mammoth effort from the team. Overall the team finished 26th in a very competitive field.
This year the team was able to use one of the University’s engine dynamometers in order to help improve its mapping. They successfully increased torque by 20Nm at 4000rpm which vastly improved the driveability of the car around the tight Formula Student tracks. The implementation of a custom gearbox was also hugely successful as this improved the spacing of the gear ratios and allowed for greater performance in the acceleration event especially (a best time of 4.098s achieved at FSUK over 75m).
Taking the season as a whole, LU Motorsport finished 10th out of a total of 81 entries.
For Lane Motorsport, Pete Costin said, “Helping LU Motorsport over the past few years with interconnect solutions has been a very interesting and rewarding exercise. Watching each year’s team improve the car’s design and performance has been very satisfying. Souriau’s miniature connector platforms are designed for the exacting environment that is motorsport and the Loughborough team continues to make the most of 8STA’s high performance capability.”