Published on May 25th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Taylor’s Racing Team, and Formula Varsity Malaysia 2015
The Taylor’s University (Taylor’s College back then) racing team was established back in 2010 , taking part in that year’s round of the Formula Varsity competition. Taylor’s gave the team a modest budget to develop their cars, supplemented with committed sponsors who showed strong support.
Over the past 5 years the team has competed in 7 different events, some being as far as Johor. Their success has been moderate, achieving podium position with nearly all of their excursions.
Since it’s humble beginnings, the team has developed 3 different cars under the internal combustion category. Team members change as seniors graduate and juniors take the helm, ensuring a constant supply of fresh talent. Most of the students are from the school of mechanical engineering and this program allows them to bridge the gap between pure mechanical and automotive or motorsport engineering.
Formula Varsity is an event that was started back in 2008, and is held every 2 to 3 years. This year’s event was particularly important as it is the first to be held on Sepang International Circuit, even if only on the South Track.
Being such a large track, there is a certain measure of difficulty when it comes to setting up the car’s alignment and geometry. The platform itself started out at a disadvantage with a narrower rear track width than the front, optimised for tight tracks where high slip angle is necessary to negate understeer. But with a little bit of tweaking, they found a good balance for the race.
Qualifying saw them place 9th in a field of 36 cars. It was a respectable position, especially considering that the Taylor’s car was largely conservative in design and engineering. As the race started, the Taylor’s car maintained position to let the tyres warm up; they had found issues with the rear tyres taking a while to get up to temperature, so care was needed in those first few laps.
As the cars went through lap after lap, a fair number of cars were grinding to a halt as their overstressed engines gave way. The Taylor’s car was in strong contention for 4th position as well, trading places with one of the other teams, when problems started to arise. Fueling issues when accelerating through 4th gear forced the car to pit and refuel, putting a serious damper on progress through the race.
This happened twice over the course of the 20 laps, and the Taylor’s team had dropped quite far back through the field as a result. But with some careful driving, they managed to take 5th place in the race- not the result they were hoping for, but certainly respectable given their limited resources and time.
Paired with their points from other assessments in the Formula Varsity competition, the Taylor’s Racing Team took 4th place overall. The accuracy of these results are called into question as the team that took the victory was found to have breached the rules, running with a larger carburetor. Unfortunately, their protests allowed them to keep their victory- but that’s part and parcel of the politics of racing.
So what’s next for the team? Their success in racing over the years has given the current team the confidence to take on Formula SAE in Australia. Formula SAE is one of the most grueling competitions at the college level, with seasoned contenders like RMIT and Monash constantly pushing the envelope. It’s no minor feat, and it will take a lot of work for the team to get there.
Due to some messy team restructuring Taylor’s University is no longer able to provide funding, which means that the hunt for sponsors is well under way. The team has to develop an all-new car with a new engine from scratch if they are to compete in FSAE, and this requires a decent sized budget. If you feel that you can support the team in any way, don’t hesitate to email them at [email protected]