After an encouraging 2011-12 season, Simraceway has once again teamed up with the Formula SAE team at UC Berkeley to help them with their 2012-13 entry in the prestigious contest designed to unearth the engineers of the future. We’ll be playing an active role in helping the team develop their new car as well as supplying the tools and knowledge to enable them to find and train their drivers.
To experience first-hand the product of last year’s partnership, you can purchase the FSAE B11 (nicknamed “Vader”) here for mere pocket change. To find out how this season’s preparations are going, carry on reading as we highlight the team’s journey right up to the final in Nebraska.
All race cars needs a fast driver behind the wheel to make them competitive, so the first stage in Team Cal Simraceway’s 2012-13 preparations was to invite budding racers to take part in a virtual hot lap competition to discover if they have what it takes–without risking the car!
Each driver was asked to set a lap time at Simraceway‘s virtual Infineon Raceway, driving the Formula 3 car that makes up the open-wheel fleet at the Simraceway Performance Driving Center. The group found the exercise enlightening while the drivers got some much-needed experience, setting a range of times between 1:30.103 and 138.620. It was decided that Simraceway software would be used in the future to monitor driver development and enable a smoother transition to the real car.
Successful drivers then made it to the next stage: a real-world assessment at LeMans Karting indoor karting center in Fremont. This gave them a great opportunity to test their skills in a live vehicle and by the end of the session, the field had been narrowed to the four best drivers, who would represent the team throughout the remainder of the season.
Stage 3 saw the chosen drivers head to the Simraceway Performance Driving Center, where Paul Charsley, Head of Programs, and instructor Jared Thompson put them into the school’s Sprint Karts. The four drivers then spent two intensive days learning how to get the most out of these ultra-lightweight racers on Infineon Raceway’s kart track.
After covering the basics, they embarked on a series of laps, each of which was followed by detailed feedback and advice from Jared (suffice to say, each driver had drastically improved their performances by the end of each session). Then it was time for some expert tuition on how to negotiate an autocross event–something that would face them in Nebraska.
With the training complete, the four drivers left the facility, eager to apply their new-found knowledge and skills to the FSAE car they would be getting to know over the coming months, and we will keep you updated with how their season unfolds.