An interview with Salford University Racing
Thursday, 10 February 2022 | Craig
Today we sat down with Oliver Kanjoo-Parsons who is the Team Director of Salford University Racing who we recently sponsored and helped with their electrical build for the upcoming Formula Student racing event.
12 Volt Planet: Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions Oliver. Can you tell us about Salford Racing engineering team?
Oliver: We are a student engineering society that design, build, and test a single-seater race car to compete in the IMechE Formula Student competition (Class 1). Each year we start with a mix of remaining and new members to spike the interest and learning involved with an engineering project such as this. Over the main phases of the project, we encourage our members to get involved with all the engineering workshops we have to offer, to better equip ourselves for the challenges ahead.
Upon completion of the build, we compete at the event in Silverstone each year, and with 2022 being Salford Racing’s 3rd Class 1 vehicle, we are very excited to show what we can bring to the table! The aim is to compete in all dynamic events (noise, sprint, hot lap etc.). In addition to this, all teams compete in the static events, where our Cost and Manufacturing Report, Design Report and Business Presentation are scored.
12 Volt Planet: So how many team members do you have and what kind of roles are being fulfilled?
The team is run by a core team of 4 committee members who oversee the main operations and functionality of the project:
The engineering team (15 people) is devised by the main areas of the car: Powertrain, Aerodynamics, Statics, Dynamics and Electrical Systems. Each team work hard on creating the designs, prototypes, tests and manufacturing techniques for their allocated components. Each sub-team has a head of department who is responsible for communicating with the Head Design Engineer. We have the ability to fabricate many parts in-house using the 5-axis CNC and Omax waterjet cutter.
We also have a business and marketing team (5 people), who are responsible for making connections with other teams and companies, whilst completing the business element of the project – the presentation. Our graphic design team are working hard on the car livery, pitwall branding and team kit.
12 Volt Planet: What limitations do you need to work within when designing the car?
Oliver: The FSUK 2022 Rules govern the constraints for which the vehicle can be designed, hence all systems and parts must adhere to these rules to ensure a competitive car at the event.
In addition to this, the limitations of the car’s success depend on financial support, team experience and expertise. With COVID having a large effect on the passing over of knowledge, the team have worked exceptionally hard to transfer as much information as possible to the new team.
Time constraints are experienced in a project such as this, going from a hand sketch to a fully operational race car in a matter of months is no easy task. And with Salford Racing being an extracurricular activity for all our members, devoting the time and effort is extremely important to our success, whilst we balance our study life.
12 Volt Planet: What have been the challenges you face regarding the 12V electrics?
Oliver: One of the main challenges we face is the knowledge. This is the first year which Salford Racing will have a devoted team to the electrical systems. This will also be the first year that the car has been built with the intention to compete in all the dynamic events at the FSUK 2022 competition.
One component most teams struggled with was the BSPD (Brake system plausibility device). Fortunately, we have one student who has been working on this complicated system and will be looking to manufacture in the coming weeks. Separate to this, however, is the LVC (low voltage circuit), in the past the electrical aspect of the car has been forgotten about until last minute, and hence the system does not prove robust or efficient. We would be grateful for as much support as possible in terms of the design and build of the circuit, to ensure the most efficient and robust system. The electrical system is the brain and operation of the car, and hence it is a critical area of the design.
12 Volt Planet: Is the sport likely to move to all-electric racing & is this something you have thought about?
Oliver: It has been mentioned that within the coming years FS will turn more towards the Electric Vehicle side of things. With EV already being a popular class, as it entices sponsors and is reflective of the current racing industry, Salford Racing would be excited to explore the options and feasibility of moving into the EV class for FS.
12 Volt Planet: So what is this year's goal for Salford Racing?
Oliver: The goal for Salford Racing is to design, build and test a vehicle which can be used to compete in all dynamic events at the Silverstone FSUK 2022 competition. The car will be robust enough to pass through all events and to place in a significantly improved position on the leader board table, by scoring enough points.
Watch our YouTube "how to" guides here