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CapeSpeed 1st African team to qualify for Formula Student finals

18 July 2012 No Comment

Cape Town, 18th July, 2012 – CPUT’s ‘Cape Speed’ team, the first African team to ever qualify for the finals at the UK International Formula Student (FS) motorsport competition, which took place at Silverstone, United Kingdom, from the 13 to 15 July 2012, has placed 65th out of 132 overall and came 27th out of 132 for the endurance stage of the event.

Professor Isobel Pollock, President of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, the organisation which runs the competition, says that this is the first time in history of the Formula Student competition that a team from Africa has made it through to the final dynamic tests. She also commented that never has a newcomer team presented a car with such immaculate finishings. She further commented that Cape Speed was the team at the event with the highest percentage female representation.

The Cape Speed team passed the ‘Static’ portion of the competition, where they were judged on business presentations skills, costing and sustainability, and design of the formula styled car. They qualified and then moved onto the Dynamic phase, which started on 14th July. This involved the team pitting their cars against the other teams through acceleration, skid pad and speed tests on the track before completing the final endurance race on 15th July.

Cape Speed team captain Kerwyn Lategan says he is proud of his team’s placing, especially considering that the team completed all the events in the competition, something that some of the more experienced teams were unable to accomplish. The team did especially well in the endurance stage, where they were placed 27th out of 132 teams, with only 62 teams having managed to qualify for this stage of the event.

“We were third in line to take to the track for the endurance event and when we finished we were the first team to have completed the endurance event at that stage, with other teams who had started ahead of us experiencing mechanical failure not completing the race due to driver error,” he explains. “We were proud to have completed the race. Our strategy involved the drivers being cautious, rather than being fast, which could have lead to our participation coming to a premature end,” he adds.

Before moving on to the static and dynamic stages of the competition, the car and drivers had to pass an eight-stage ‘scrutineering’ test. “This is a grueling process where the car is checked for driver safety, weight of the vehicle, cockpit clearance, and technical safety,” says Lategan. “We also had to pass an egress test which checks whether the driver is able to exit the vehicle within five seconds, as well as a tilt test where the vehicle is tilted to 60 degrees to check for any fuel leaks and roll-over stability.”

This was followed by a noise test to check that the car was within the 105 decibel limit. “Our car came in at 115 decibels, but with quick thinking and innovation we devised a way to reduce the noise levels to within the limit,” he adds.

Cape Speed arrives back in Cape Town on Friday, 20 July 2012, and will embark on a campaign to raise awareness amongst aspiring engineers both at school and college level about CapeSpeed’s accomplishments to inspire other aspiring engineers and to prove that South Africa can compete at the highest level of technology and innovation.

Fans can show their support with a like on Facebook (facebook.com/CPUTFormulaStudent) or for more information visit: www.capespeed.co.za

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