The aerodynamics subsystem at Knights Racing is responsible for designing the aerodynamic package for KR23. We validate our designs using various CFD simulations and methodologies in addition to on-car experimental tests. Our subsystem also covers all composite manufacturing.
The goal of the suspension broken down to the most basic level is to use the tires as efficiently as possible. All performance statistics such as lateral acceleration, longitudinal acceleration, stability, and drivability are controlled by the tire. A 1000hp car on wooden wheels will yield a slow acceleration time while a car with wooden wheels will barely turn around a skid pad. A good car on bad tires is a bad car.
Ergonomics involves the engineering of solutions to make the human-vehicle interface as comfortable and efficient as possible. In endurance racing, ergonomics is arguably the most important subsystem because if the driver of the vehicle is not comfortable throughout the entire race, performance will seriously decline throughout the race.
The electrical subsystem has a basic goal that is critical to the entire car: getting it to start. It is also responsible for a multitude of electronics and telemetry gathered through a suite of sensors. They are vital to other subsystems to validate their design as well as test tune our car to perform its best. A few examples of this include looking at the brake pressure sensor’s output to validate the calculations that the designer of the braking system took into account, or watching the output of potentiometers linked to suspension travel to better tune the damping. By using data logs from each run of the car, we can guarantee correct operation and adjust the tuning on components accordingly due to all of the sensors we keep track of. More importantly, data logs give us hard numbers to present to the judges at competition to validate our designed parts, which often times can be the difference between several points in scoring.
Powertrain is a subsystem that consists of the engine and everything that connects to it, like the intake, exhaust, fuel system, cooling system, oiling system, and other small components
like the throttle body. Powertrain is important because it is responsible for moving the car. The engine that we use is a four-cylinder 2006 GSX-R 600cc which has a 636cc bore and runs on E- 85. In the future, we are planning to use a single or twin-cylinder engine due to its reduced weight and flexible packaging.
A chassis can be defined as many things. Whether a space frame, ladder frame/four tube, stressed skin, or Monocoque, the chassis is meant to hold all components necessary for a car. Colin Chapman, a major player in chassis development and involved in the early development of the Lotus stated that “the chassis is a big bracket that holds everything else in place”. Your goal as a chassis designer is to connect the dots with the smallest amount of material and highest strength.
The purpose of the manufacturing subsystem is to build the car year-to-year. You can have the best-designed car the world has ever seen, but unless you have people who know how to manufacture, then that car will never leave the confines of your hard drive. Members of the manufacturing team have the opportunity to be trained on manual mills, manual lathes, CNC machines, TIG welders, and any other machine that the club gains access to. The subsystem must be able to quickly and precisely manufacture every component on the car. If the quality of the parts goes down so will the overall performance of the car. A large portion of competition goals is based on the manufactured components of the car.
In the eyes of SAE International, each chapter is viewed as a business. The lead here is responsible for conducting and running the team as such. The purpose of the business subsystem is to create a budget for the annual vehicle build. It is important to prioritize the engineering goals of the car when doing this. Additionally, this subsystem is responsible for a large part of competition scoring, including the business and cost reports and presentations. This function is paramount to the operation of the team because without it, there would be no funding for the vehicle build and overall scores for our competition performance would be much lower. All in all, this subsystem is responsible for:
- Team budget
- SGA bill proposal
- Cost report
- Business presentation (competition)
- Cost presentation (competition)