“We Came To Germany To Prove We Had A Fast Car. And We Succeeded!”

For a first-time team at Formula Student-Germany, Missouri had a great run! Did they win? No, but they put on a heckuva show with 1st in Skidpad and 2nd in Autocross (clocked fastest lap), earning them a slot with the race ‘finalists’. Five premium teams were held out of the all-day endurance race so that just the BEST would be on the track for a crowd-pleasing grand finale.
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Each of those five were winged vehicles; three European teams, one U.S./German partnership (GFR/Ravensburg & Oregon State), and Missouri S&T. Driver Alec Surrat was second out of the gate some 150 yards behind UAS Esslingen, and quickly made the leader feel like engineering prey. He drove a very smooth run that seemed to turn the finals into a four-car runner-up duel, while S&T’s #45 car was waaaaaay out in front, just cruising.
At driver change time it didn’t look as if any of the cars, even two-time U.S. champion GFR, were going to be able to mount a serious challenge to S&T. All five cars pulled into the pits for the three-minute window but GFR had a dead battery and was pulled from the roster. Then the same thing happened to Missouri S&T, leaving three lesser vehicles to fight for the final 375 points.
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It seems the car’s charging circuit gave out during the first half of endurance, sticking S&T with its 3rd endurance DNF of the season. In each race the Miners were either dominating or hanging nose-to-tail with the best in the world. It is painful to watch a team that has done so well be brought down by three different seemingly minor malfunctions, but reliability IS a big part of these design competitions. And it happens in racing.
We haven’t looked up the final scores we’ll go with the crew’s perspective that they did just “OK” in presentation, design, and cost, so those areas will need improvement. They’ll actively recruit business-minded team members, but it’ll be tough to keep them in the office and out of the shop, where the wrench turning takes place.
They may not have reached the podium, but we’re hearing rumors of several major European firms who “want their name on our car.” If that turns out to be correct it will be difficult NOT to come back to Formula Student Germany next year.
Or Formula Student Silverstone. Or Formula Student Austria. Or all three.