In Good Shape For Tomorrow!

TrackworkerSUN_8682Beautiful weather today. Nearly cloudless; perfect for landscape photos but kinda hot for the track workers.

S&T Racing made it to tonight’s Design finals, one of only ten teams to do so. A real honor! This is a design event, not just a race, and trophy goes to the team with the most points.

This afternoon’s autocross race was a tooth and nail fight among Kansas, Texas Arlington, Michigan, Missouri S&T, and some other school we can’t remember. Just over a second separated the top four teams, with the other 60+ teams falling well behind the leaders. The races DO count for 55% of a team’s total score (15% for autocross, 40% for tomorrow’s endurance), but the best teams win by doing well in all events. That means S&T’s high design ranking, 4th place in autocross, 5th in skid pad, and 13th in acceleration should put them in podium contention if all goes as planned in the endurance race.

FSAEAC14SUN_8757Too bad SAE doesn’t award points for the best-looking car, as S&T would surely take that trophy home.

Morale in the Miners’ paddock is pretty high, since there are no mechanical issues to keep them up all night. There is some speculation that the high G-Forces in the autocross race may have impacted fuel flow, but that simply means the car still as more to give. The endurance race is more wide-open so G-forces shouldn’t have as much impact.

The winged cars will be at their best tomorrow, and in years past that would have been to S&T’s advantage but plenty of teams have followed S&T’s lead and incorporated aero systems. As the SCCA race announcer mentioned today, “2014 is the year that winged cars have really begun to dominate,” no surprise to the Miners, whose dogged determination to make aero packages work has finally paid off. It wasn’t that long ago that SAE judges turned up their collective noses at downforce systems, saying wings “don’t really make a difference.”

No one says that anymore.