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iRace has announced a new round at the Marulan Circuit in NSW.
Electric Formula Cars got some early testing in with EFC 1.0.
With the new season upon us, we have been carrying out a range of upgrades to EFC 1.0, ready for the first iRace round at Lakeside International Raceway which was held in glorious Queensland sunshine.
Our upgrades have been for safety, reliability and speed.
With regard to safety, we needed to develop several parts that combine to make one integrated system. This is the helmet, HANS and safety belts.
One of the deliberate policies at Electric Formula Cars is to use race cars that aren’t the latest models, whilst putting our main efforts into developing the electrical systems. The reason for this is that it lowers both cost and carbon footprint. This is because the value of a racing car drops dramatically after the first two years, even though it is entirely serviceable.
However because of this EFC 1.0 was due for some changes to improve the safety systems. On racing cars the seat belts have a stated life before they have to be changed and EFC 1.0 was due. Also the belts fitted were of the touring car type that had a central crutch strap. This would not be real comfortable for the “family jewels” if you “submarine”, which is where you try to slide under the belts during a major impact.
In addition HANS devices have now become compulsory. A HANS is a device that fits around the neck and has straps to the helmet. It doesn’t restrict your head from normal movements but stops your neck hyper extending in a heavy crash. One of the things with a HANS is that your seat belts need to go straight back from your shoulders and not pull downwards, so this also meant adding new pick up points to the chassis.
Tony Dunn of Stand 21 came out and inspected what was needed. The Stand 21 helmet was already made for HANS connection, this is critical as it has extra strength around the mounting points. The practice of just retro fitting mounts to an older helmet not built for the job is very questionable. Also the fitting that goes into a Stand 21 helmet is very detailed. They have three helmet shapes for round, oval and oval with a flat top head! The helmets go up a centimetre at a time and you then have separate padding for each part of the helmet that are in one millimetre increments – you don’t want the helmet moving around in the slipstream.
Tony then measured for custom made Willans single-seater belts, that have the appropriate two leg straps and together we worked out exactly where the pick up points needed to be. It is this sort of service and product knowledge that make Stand 21 stand out from the crowd.
To get a higher cross bar with mounts it was back to Paul McKinnon at Evolution Motorsport who is also a craftsman who takes pride in doing a job right. Paul modified EFC 1.0 previously to rebuild the frame with a higher rollover bar.
All the parts came together beautifully when assembled with help by Michael Ward, our trusty engineer from Wardsport.
For speed and reliability we needed to have the gearbox upgraded. Electric motors put out a heap of torque at all speeds. Consequently we use direct drive and we were finding that we were beginning to get the car jumping out of top gear under load. Something we can’t afford in a race.
We were referred to Ron Schmidt at Kempsey and were amazed to find that his workshop was a bit like the Tardis! At the back of his house it opens up to reveal an immaculately tidy, large facility that houses several desert racers that have Albins gearboxes which take a 1000 bhp. Ron is an old school racer who really knows his stuff. He converted our box to be two speed plus reverse and made the top gear longer. He had the knowledge, experience and tooling to do it in a very professional manner.
After all this it was off to Lakeside Raceway in Queensland, where we had a great weekend. Check out some of Tim Miller’s event photos that were entered in TECH 2U’s photography competition. Also in attendance was an electric Minetti prototype sportscar which was the official pacecar for the LeMans Sports category.
As the new season is underway, we also gave our trusty trailer a complete safety overhaul with new bearings and brakes by Ian and Richard at Balgowlah Automotive.
Next stop Sydney Motor Sport Park for Round 2…
Electric Formula Cars were out at Round 3 of the iRace series at Sydney Motor Sport Park on October 4th 2014.
Check out the video of a lap of the South Circuit…
We were accompanied there by the University of New South Wales Sunswift solar car team. They have just had their FIA world record for the fastest electric car over 500 kms ratified.
One of the jobs that had to be done on EFC 1.0, as we prepare it for head-to-head racing with petrol cars, was to raise the rollover bar.
EFC 1.0 is our test bed and we like the idea of using older cars as we want to keep our carbon footprint down, but it meant that we had to bring it up to current standards. Just extending the bar wasn’t good enough and Evolution Motorsport did a great job of dismantling it and creating a new struture which makes it stronger than new.
In addition Michael from Wardsport carried out extensive work to improve the rolling resistance and braking.
In preparation for iRace Round 3 EFC went out testing at the Marulan circuit, which is a fantastic facility near Goulburn.
It got a Development Approval especially to allow any type of electric vehicle.
The circuit has just been extended and has superb all round viewing.
The UNSW Solar Car Racing Team with their Sunswift eVe will be joining Electric Formula Cars at iRace Round 3 at Sydney Motor Sport Park on October 4th 2014.
In March 2015, eVe will become the 1st road legal solar-electric car in the Southern Hemisphere. The Sunswift team anticipates that getting the car road legal will create exciting PR opportunities.
Built for the World Solar Challenge in 2013 to become Australia’s 1st passenger solar car, eVe in July this year captured worldwide attention by breaking the FIA World Record for the fastest electric car over 500km on a single charge (subject to FIA homologation). It’s a significant achievement for the electric car industry, proving that electric cars can travel at highway speeds (+100kmph) for long distances.
eVe’s motors consist of two 1.5kW in-hub motors developed by the CSIRO specifically for solar cars – which use the same amount of power as a 4-slice toaster. High speeds on such low power are made possible by the cutting-edge aerodynamic design and extremely lightweight carbon frame (total weight = 330kg). The car has 4m^2 of SunPower C60 silicon solar cells, which recharge the battery. The car uses 1000 Panasonic 18650 A and B batteries which direct power to the motors.
In addition to Sunswift’s road legal ambitions eVe will once again compete in the World Solar Challenge 2015, with victory in sight.
The Sunswift team is always keen to invite sponsors and electric car enthusiasts to drive eVe so make sure you get a chance to drive the car that’s making history.”
EFC 1.0 was at the Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival along with some of its friends.
If you would like to say hello to us and see one of our Electric Formula Cars, we will be displaying at the Hunter Valley Electric Vehicle Festival on Saturday 16th August 2014.
The initial reaction at the first iRace round at Sydney Motor Sport Park, was one of bemusement that you could actually have an all electric single-seater racing car.
Discover the fascinating world of electric formula cars.
Using motor sport to drive the development of cleaner modes of transport.