Warwick Racing Update Blog #1- The Next Step

As University of Warwick gets back into the swing of term one after a rather… tumultuous 2020, so too does our motor-sport division here at Warwick Racing. Having been open to students from all departments since 2014, Warwick Racing is this year taking great steps forward as a team; with new personnel, new departments and (most importantly) an exciting new car!

What do we do?

Warwick Racing is motor-sport team competing in the Formula Student competition. In this division, universities from across the world develop, design and construct a team race car which is built to represent the university in a number of static and dynamic events.

-Static events measure elements of the car’s construction, such as cost and design efficiency.

-Dynamic events test the car’s capabilities, including its acceleration, speed and durability throughout longer stints of driving.

This division is not merely about building the fastest and lightest car, but about building a cost-efficient, reliable vehicle which still has the legs be competitive. Like most formula divisions, our designers must adhere to a set of technical regulations which govern what can and cannot be included in the car’s development. It is up to the designers and engineers to not only adhere to these regulations, but also to find creative ways of getting the most out of the car within the given guidelines. The engineering team is split into two main sectors: the chassis team (responsible for building the bodywork and structure of the car) and the power-train team (responsible for powering the car). This year, the two teams are led by Angel Marco and Rens Bossers respectively, with each team featuring a number of student engineers from the university. Beside the more technical side of the team however are the Business and Marketing divisions of Warwick Racing who handle the logistics and promotion of the team- ensuring that we are successful both on and off the track.

What’s New?

Over the summer break, Warwick Racing has been developing not just as a technical division- but as a brand too. The business team has swollen dramatically from just 5 to 12 members, with everybody now playing a major part in the week-by-week operations of the team. Warwick Racing also boasts a brand-new marketing division focused on developing our website, blogs, social media, team videos and much more. With this new element of the team up and running, Warwick Racing is aiming to create a brand that university students, staff and members of our local community alike can follow and support without having to come down to the track with us on event days. As the team writer, I will be bringing you regular updates on the shape of the team and the development of the car, as well as providing you with my thoughts and opinions on various news events that are happening in the wider world of motor-sport.

Aside from the changes to the team make-up though, there have been exciting developments on the car as well. Last year, Warwick Racing retired its 7th generation of competitive internal-combustion race car; the WR7, and instead decided to change focus and begin producing cars that were powered entirely by electric motors. Naturally, the switch to electric power was one primarily fuelled by a wider university desire to be as environmentally friendly as possible, but electric power brings with it a variety of interesting benefits to the car itself. As anybody who has ever seen a Tesla may know, electrics cars can accelerate very, very quickly because they can send power to the wheels much faster than a combustion engine car can. The electric motors are also completely silent, which means we no longer deafen any of the engineers when testing the power outputs. The change to electric power does also bring a greater series of technical challenges too: such as how to incorporate the extra electrics, and where to put the heavy batteries so that they don’t disrupt the balance of the car when cornering. Last year the team successfully constructed the WRe1: our first fully electric competitive race car. Unfortunately, due to the Covid pandemic, the WRe1 was never able to see much of the action that it was constructed for, which left the team with the difficult challenge of deciding how to progress forward. In the months since, major upgrades and developments have been added to the WRe1 which has slowly evolved it into our newest vehicle: the WRe2!

The WRe2 is Warwick Racing’s second generation of electric race car. It a single seater low-slung car designed to minimise weight and keep a low profile to the ground in order to ensure tighter handling and to reduce drag when accelerating. The chassis is built from recycled carbon fibre- ensuring that it is both light and sturdy in the unfortunate event of a crash. The high-backed seat forms the central part of the frame and is reinforced to act as a roll-cage should the car turn over, like how the engine intake of an f1 car has the same double purpose. The car might lack some of the aerodynamic flourishes seen in higher level motor-sports, such as a front or rear wing, but the centralized weight of the driver and the car’s overall low profile is more than enough to keep the WRe2 planted firmly to the road. The WRe2 is absolutely no slouch- its super lightweight frame and powerful motors ensures that it produces a pretty eye-watering 306bhp per ton. For comparison, a competitive Formula E car set to ‘Race Mode’ produces 300bhp/ton. We’re not about to suggest that we could give Lucas di Grassi a run for his money any time soon, but it certainly speaks to the kind of power we’ve been able to draw from our two electric motors to make figures like that possible.The entire car weighs just 350kg without the driver (a 30kg reduction from the WRe1) and the dual motors output a combined 280Nm of torque. From a standing start, the WRe2 will do 0-60mph in 5 seconds flat (that’s faster than an Aston Martin V8 Vantage and the same as a 2001 Ariel Atom). This acceleration time is half a second faster than the WRe1 and goes to show just how far the development of the vehicle has come over the last few months.

What’s Next?

With the WRe2’s chassis almost completed, the next step for the team is to paint the bodywork with the university’s green and black livery, which we will have finalised pictures of in an upcoming blog. From there, it is the job of the engineering divisions to identify and upgrade components of the car so that it is as competitive as possible when it finally takes to a track in anger in 2022. Over the coming months we will be bringing you regular news about the status of the upgrades and how these effect the car’s overall performance, as well as news about the team and the wider world of motor-sport.

If you would like to follow us further here at Warwick Racing, please visit our website and follow us on our various social media platforms! 

Have a great week from all of us here at Warwick!

-Alex