Goodwood Greenpower Heat, the race report

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Sunday the 10th of June saw the college Greenpower team make their second visit as competitors to the prestigious Goodwood motor racing circuit near Chichester.  This event was possibly even more impressive than the 2017 event as for this year over 100 Greenpower cars were taking part.

The college kitcar ‘Knife n Fork It’ had yet again proved itself reliable at the Dunsfold Airfield test day on the previous month, so needed very little extra preparation for the Goodwood Heat.

Practice went well with 21.6 miles covered by the two drivers Rebecca Hockey and Finn Burns, both Cobham plc first year apprentices. Only one kitcar “Vixen” from Perkins engines was faster in practice, however this was not to remain the case later in the day.

The data captured during practice indicated that for unknown reasons Finn’s driving style was slightly kinder to our batteries and he was chosen to drive the car during the F24+ heat in the afternoon.   Whilst the younger competitors were racing we are able to make any last minute checks and tweaks to the car before our race which commenced at 2pm.

The actual race got off to a great start for us and Finn was able to avoid one broken down car from Renishaw plc on the front row of the grid.  During the race Finn was a consistent driver maintaining his average speed for each of the 11 laps covered. On car camera footage shows that he raced a fairly lonely race in which he lapped many slower cars as well as being lapped himself by the ultra-competitive cars from the likes of Jaguar-Landrover!

Our main battles were with Vixen early in the race and also against the local Siemens apprentice’s car “Velocity” Driven by another college student Luke Bradley.  By the middle of the race there was only one position between us. We took advantage and they finished the race in 11th position.

Student on track at Goodwood‘Knife n Fork It’ crossed the line to finish 8th place overall. This was the team’s first top 10 finish in the F24+ class and they were also the fastest out of eight kitcars with “Vixen” needing about 9-10 minutes to catch up.

Also of note was a great result by another Siemens car driven by Cobham first year apprentice Matty Waine who finished in 4th position in his car “evolving”.

As usual we were able to capture a significant amount of useful data from the car which will help us do even better at Goodwood in the future.  It is likely we can gear for a very small amount of extra speed in the future at this venue.

Team Members for this event were

Natasha and Rebecca Hockey, Will Taylor, Finn Burns, Josh Stannard (all Cobham) apprentices.  Michael Cruse (Eurac apprentice) and James Shrimpton (Full time engineering student)

Supporters were Nicola Irvine who also acted as team photographer and Tyla Munday who is a 2016-17 Team member.

Also one of our new sponsors Strategic Solutions was represented by Mr Allan Cruse.

Report by Wayne Weedon – Engineering Lecturer and Greenpower project manager.

Student Statements

Rebecca Hockey - On Sunday, I went first on the practice races and got told to do 10 laps. To start off with I was a bit worried as I wasn’t too sure what the laps were like. I tried to keep my finger on the button the entire time so that I could see how fast I could go. My data would be compared to the data Wayne receives from Finn so we could determine who would drive in the race. Once I did a couple of laps I was getting used to the tracks and the race line. I really enjoyed driving the car and it feels like a great reward for all the hard work we’ve put into the car.

Although I didn’t end up racing the car, I didn’t mind as I got to watch Finn drive and finish fastest kitcar.

Finn Burns - 8th place overall, 1st in class, Average speed 24.93mph, max speed 29mph. These were the numbers I saw pop up on the data shown to me after my hour long race of progress at Goodwood. An indication of just how mine and the rest of the team’s commitment and enthusiasm has improved our Subaru blue and silver kitcar by an astonishing 4mph between the interim time after the Rockingham final at the end of October. The specific improvements have included creating new foam rear aero panels to help aid air flow, cleaning up the electrical wiring, creating a new throttle switch to make it more agronomical to hold for the duration of the race and reducing the track rods down from three to two to make it easier to adjust, lighter and easier to turn the wheels.

During practice I felt the car had a lot of pace as the only cars I was overtaken by during my stint were three of the known fastest Greenpower cars in the field. It was the start of the race when I had fresh batteries and a fully taped up and closed rear cover when I had the chance to fully unleash what the car was capable of.  My plan of blipping the throttle before the final countdown to gain more momentum off the grid worked perfectly propelling me and the kitcar to the front of the pack and keeping within the top 10 front runners till the end, beating the next fastest kitcar by 1 lap!

The feeling that I got when I began to realise I was going to bring the car home in our best position was exhilaration, relief and gratefulness for the team.

With Goodwood over its back to college to further enhance the kitcar ready for me to use again and seek the next electric bolt load of adrenalin that I only get from being part of this competition which for me and the team is on September the 9th at Dunsfold. This time to hopefully get into the top five.