To this day one very successful competition across the Atlandtic ocean is set behind us, the team is relaxing and browsing the sightseeings of the land of Mickey Mouse. Therefore, it is good time to recap the recent events.
As we all know, the Formula SAE Michigan was due to set off on 8th May and prior to that the team was in the garage of Oakland Univerity occupied with getting our formula race car ready for the competitions. On that note, we'd like to say big thanks to the Oakland University's Formula SAE Team for their warm welcome :) However, before the competitions a very interesting, yet absolutely unplanned event took place. During one of our track tests a gentelman approached our team to find out what we were up to. When he discovered that our chaps are from Estonia, he claimed to know an Estonian who is currently living in the USA and, while at it, gave us his contact information. As it turned out later, there really was an Estonian man in the US. His name is Arvo Siismets, he works at General Motors in the powertrain facility and inspired by the great joy of meeting fellow Estonians, was glad to give our boys a small tour round the GM facilities. There were loads of interesting things to see but more details are to be obtained from our excursionists.
Group picture at General Motors'i powertrain facility
And then it was time for the competitions. The first day's schedule was made up of the usual: the registration procedures and the scrutineering. Luckily, all worked without a glitch and we were complimented our crash helmets that looked brand new. Thank you, Tribilia! But a total of 120 contestants take their toll and due to that the queues were long... And we didnät even make it to the weighing station so this procedure was postponed to the next morning.
The second day began early and FEST12 was set for the weighing. Thankfully, the fast food craze had left the FEST12 untouched and the result was 215kg - not bad! Next were refuelling, tilt and noise test. Needless to say, everything went like clockwork yet again. However, it must be said that this day's schedule was hectic. The static events were started rather early: on the plate next to breakfast was the business presentation closely followed by the design event. Then, as a small refreshment, the brake test was taken up - two successful attempts were all we needed. After lucnch it was time ofr the cost event. By the way... Our cost real case scenario to reduce the cost of our wheel hub was assigned the maximum possible score. Before the day ended there was enough time to prep for the next day and hence an acceleration test was carried out. Despite the 60% chance of rain for the next day, a jolly good news was announced at 11:14 PM: FS Team Tallinn have reserved a spot in the design finals along with 8 other teams!
Day three. More news: 54th at cost, 34th at business plan, 7th at skid, 4th at acceleration, and 9th at autocross. Our best result in autocross was 50.553s and the best teams were clearly out of reach: Stuttgart with 48.772s and GFR with 47.802s. We usually have an Excel spreadsheet to roughly calculate the scores in order to estimate the final standings and this competition was no exception. So, it seemed that at that point we were about 5th or 6th overall. Not bad! But let's be honest... We were all expecting a better result ;) The day was ended by the design finals with our good old friend Claude-The-Suspension who did not cut any slack to anyone. We had to know everything about everything... and then a littlebit more. 'Your biggest handicap is your weight... You have the heaviest car in the finals!' Makes one think, doesn't it? Of monocock. Yet another challenge for the (near) future!
Accompanied by severe nervous tension and excitement (for both the contestants and the support team back home) it was finally the last day of the competitions and also the last crucial event - the endurance. The track was slightly different from that of the autocross and the cars were to drive in the opposite direction. Before the race we received some more good news: the design finals that took place the night before had taken us to the TOP3! Incredibly good news. However, this was not enough to be careless about the endurance - we were still worried about the mystical speed of the formula race car of GFR...
The tracks of autocross and endurance
Our most experienced driver Jüri was the first of us to get on track. Good grip, great speed, over in no time! By the way, the grip was even so good that after the race Jüri said that at times the g-forces during cornering were so intense that he almost blacked out, but luckily he managed to remain conscious. The second was our captain Siim and then the real thrill began. The suspense was killing already during the driver change when the Michigan Ann Arbor team's car spread oil all over the track. After a short delay Siim was granted access to the track and there was absorbent dust everywhere. The track conditions were more characteristic to a rally on gravel. Everyone was able to see how well or not the aerodynamic elements work due to the dust of the absorbent that was excellent at visualizing the airflow. Like all of this wasn't enough, with a couple of laps to go it began to rain. Luckily, though, our race was almost done anyway. However, the endurance race had some more tricks up in its sleeve. As a bit sweet and sour news it was soon discovered that GFR's car wouldn't start and had to sit out the race... What a pity!
The awards ceremony took place at night. As always, it was set off with trophies for sepparate event TOP3s and finally the overall results. A fantastic news for us was 2nd place at endurance. Disain TOP3 became 2nd place for us and last... but most certainly not least... Three is the charm! The most important resutl - 2nd overall as well. We lost to the Stuttgart University team (831.5 pts) at the highest podium spot by mere 10.8 points and beat the Akron University team (819.0 pts) literally by a hair a.k.a 1.7 points. All in all it was a very good result for us and yet again proves that our small team from a tiny Northern European country called Estonia has doubtlessly earned its place in the absolute top of the Formula Student world.
FS Team Tallinn in Michigan
Now, however, the team has taken some time to relax. They say that nerve cells cannot be restored but we think it's worth a try. It is most certainly essential to prepare ourselves for the Canadian competitions and of course get more closely acquainted with the peculiarities of the US and A. By now the most southern point of the continent is definitely checked out. Sleeping with the alligators - check! Witnessing a rocket launch - check! Now it is time to head north again to rejoin the FEST12 and have another great and successful race!
As you can see... no mocking about!