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Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa SuperDork
12/19/20 3:00 p.m.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by UTA Racing (@utaracing)

 

 

UTA Racing has chosen to take on a very different challenge for the 2020-2021 competition season. That challenge: to design and build a car to compete in the A-Modified class of the Sports Car Club of America 2021 Solo season. The class, which features average lap times approximately 3-5% faster than FSAE, is the fastest of the 48 classes in SCCA Solo events held nationwide.

The decision comes as the circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic have drastically changed the landscape for FSAE teams and UTA Students for the 2020-2021 school year. The decision, suggested by and adopted unanimously by UTA Racing team members, will provide an engineering education experience equal to or better than the usual FSAE design cycle while working better for the team around the new challenges. With a small but dedicated and experienced team working within the COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines set forth by the University of Texas Arlington and local authorities, the team has safely completed Design work on the new car dubbed “The UTA-Mod”.

Design work started in August, and manufacturing has already begun. Featuring a 225 Horsepower Suzuki GSXR 1000 engine, the UTA-Mod will weigh under the A-Mod class minimum weight of 900 lb. with driver and will generate more downforce than any UTA car previous. The high horsepower 900 lb. car is a departure from the types of cars normally created by the team for FSAE competitions, whose rulebook limits power and greatly incentivizes mass efficiency.

The team plans to compete in select Regional and Divisional SCCA Solo events, with the season culminating in the 2021 SCCA Solo National Championships. If successful, the team plans to be in contention for the 2021 Solo Nationals A- Modified Class Championship and FSAE Class Championship. And if all goes to plan, the UTA-Mod may just be the fastest autocross car ever made.

The team would like to thank and is excited to continue our relationships with our current sponsors, which can be viewed at www.utaracing.com/sponsors/.

triumph7
triumph7 Reader
12/19/20 3:32 p.m.

Why should this be the death of the class?  New blood coming in is always good and just because they have money and expertise doesn't ensure success... just ask McLaren!

In fact, I look at their drawing and think it might not be so quick.....

MrJoshua
MrJoshua UltimaDork
12/19/20 3:38 p.m.
triumph7 said:

Why should this be the death of the class?  New blood coming in is always good and just because they have money and expertise doesn't ensure success... just ask McLaren!

In fact, I look at their drawing and think it might not be so quick.....

Drawings are usually pretty slow. cheeky

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa SuperDork
12/19/20 3:46 p.m.

In reply to triumph7 :

Not death of the class, but the competitors.  UTA is usually a top 10 competitor in FSAE events and the last few times that an FSAE team has competed in SCCA A-Mod they've finished in the top 3 with FSAE cars, not with cars built specifically for A-mod.

Massive amounts of sponsorship and SCCA is hugely unrestricted compared to FSAE.  Hardest part for them will likely be getting that much power put down as its so much more than they're used to.

dps214
dps214 HalfDork
12/19/20 3:55 p.m.

A mod has been pretty dead lately anyway...about time for some new blood actually building to the limits of the class.

GCrites80s
GCrites80s HalfDork
12/19/20 5:43 p.m.
MrJoshua said:
triumph7 said:

Why should this be the death of the class?  New blood coming in is always good and just because they have money and expertise doesn't ensure success... just ask McLaren!

In fact, I look at their drawing and think it might not be so quick.....

Drawings are usually pretty slow. cheeky

But if they add speed lines...

SVreX (Forum Supporter)
SVreX (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
12/19/20 6:12 p.m.

...or GRM stickers...

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth Mod Squad
12/19/20 7:03 p.m.

Someone who knows about such things once told me that the problem with A-mod is that the guys who are capable of building them aren't the guys capable of driving them, in general. This should be interesting.

freetors
freetors Reader
12/19/20 7:26 p.m.

That car is still what, 100hp down on the acme special though, isn't it? That extra power essentially means they can push around more downforce. And the lack of cvt seems like it would be a big disadvantage too.

 

MrJoshua
MrJoshua UltimaDork
12/19/20 8:21 p.m.
freetors said:

That car is still what, 100hp down on the acme special though, isn't it? That extra power essentially means they can push around more downforce. And the lack of cvt seems like it would be a big disadvantage too.

 

Yep. That. Big power and always in the powerband with no need to shift vs either shifting all the time or bogging. Has the team considered a perfectly designed turbo system with really good engine management as part of the design? It seems like more torque would make a lack of a CVT less of a handicap.

dps214
dps214 HalfDork
12/19/20 8:30 p.m.
freetors said:

That car is still what, 100hp down on the acme special though, isn't it? That extra power essentially means they can push around more downforce. And the lack of cvt seems like it would be a big disadvantage too.

I'm genuinely curious to see how it goes. You're right, 225hp is a lot but it's definitely not a turbo 2 stroke with a cvt. But with a whole team and moderately unlimited resources I'd guess they could do some things with aero and chassis design that nobody else has really been able to do.

NOT A TA
NOT A TA SuperDork
12/19/20 9:21 p.m.

Building a whole car from scratch for the 2021 season? How many people are on the team?

triumph7
triumph7 Reader
12/19/20 9:31 p.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

Massive amounts of sponsorship... in FSAE where sponsors will be seen.  How much are they going to put up in an obscure class in an obscure activity in the Secret Car Club of America?

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa SuperDork
12/19/20 10:09 p.m.

In reply to NOT A TA :

Team I was on had about a dozen hardcore members and maybe twice that part timers.  We usually fielded 20 for competition.  I've seen some teams show up with three members and some show up with 60.

Building one car per year is normal for FSAE though, usually do iterations of a car for five or six years then do one major redesign in between.

Building a car specifically for SCCA will be a test, though  

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa SuperDork
12/19/20 10:10 p.m.

In reply to triumph7 :

I've yet to be convinced that the FSAE sponsors ever got more than a tax break

NOT A TA
NOT A TA SuperDork
12/19/20 10:39 p.m.
Mr_Asa said:

In reply to NOT A TA :

Team I was on had about a dozen hardcore members and maybe twice that part timers.  We usually fielded 20 for competition.  I've seen some teams show up with three members and some show up with 60.

Building one car per year is normal for FSAE though, usually do iterations of a car for five or six years then do one major redesign in between.

Building a car specifically for SCCA will be a test, though  

That'll be a test for sure! Somehow I tend to doubt they'll have a competitive car for 2021. They'll need several serious members working on it a lot to be ready in a relatively short period of time, then there's sorting........

dps214
dps214 HalfDork
12/19/20 10:52 p.m.
triumph7 said:

In reply to Mr_Asa :

Massive amounts of sponsorship... in FSAE where sponsors will be seen.  How much are they going to put up in an obscure class in an obscure activity in the Secret Car Club of America?

This has already gotten more public attention than just about any fsae car or competition. At competitions all they're advertising to is other teams. At least at an scca event there might be some actual potential customers around. Any actual return on investment is coming from social media and such, and that won't be any different here than for a normal build. But like mr_asa said in most cases it's a tax break and some good will and that's about it.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa SuperDork
12/19/20 11:10 p.m.

Rough numbers: before ballast and driver, wet weight will be around 650lbs, projected to have 565ish down pounds @60MPH from the aero package.

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
12/19/20 11:11 p.m.

UTA Racing is a well funded and well supported program.

The person who wins the FSAE class at SCCA Solo Nats wins the Bob Woods Trophy.

Bob Woods is the UTA FSAE Faculty Sponsor. They take up half a floor in one of the Engineering Buildings at UTA with all their facilities.

They normally start building a car this time of the year and have to have it ready for competition by May timeframe. Moving their goal to Solo Nats in september means they have an additional 3-4 months of time to assemble and test the car. 


I have few doubts they'll get the car together.. reliable and at full speed it's capable of? we will see... they have access to the proper folks who are competent drivers as well.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa SuperDork
12/19/20 11:12 p.m.
MrJoshua said:
freetors said:

That car is still what, 100hp down on the acme special though, isn't it? That extra power essentially means they can push around more downforce. And the lack of cvt seems like it would be a big disadvantage too.

 

Yep. That. Big power and always in the powerband with no need to shift vs either shifting all the time or bogging. Has the team considered a perfectly designed turbo system with really good engine management as part of the design? It seems like more torque would make a lack of a CVT less of a handicap.

The 2020 or 2019 UTA FSAE car was turbo'd, so I'm sure they took it into consideration.

Mr_Asa
Mr_Asa SuperDork
12/19/20 11:14 p.m.

In reply to spacecadet (Forum Supporter) :

E36 M3, my team was usually able to jump 20+ spots on the overall rankings with the one month break between Michigan and Lincoln.  3-4 months extra with their resources?  It'll be like the EU teams that come to Michigan with the previous year's car.

MrJoshua
MrJoshua UltimaDork
12/20/20 12:46 p.m.

In reply to Mr_Asa :

Very cool!

nalyd8991
nalyd8991 New Reader
12/27/20 6:32 p.m.

Hi Guys, I'm the Chief Engineer on this car and can answer some questions.

To address some of the questions raised already:

- Yes we know this is way down on power compared to some other A-Mods. We questioned how much power was actually usable considering the weight, tires, and courses. A lot of A-mods are what I would call point and shoot cars. They don't actually corner all too well, and have crazy rear weight distribution and compromised rear suspension geometry to allow them to put that power down. We expect to have much more downforce and much less drag considering our access to and experience with full car CFD, even if our wings are a little less ridiculously sized. We expect this to be a much more well rounded car. And if we went to far with that philosophy, we've left the door open to potentially supercharge the car later. 

 - This is our smallest team in decades because of the pandemic, so a one year design and build is going to be a challenge. An A-mod with its minimum weight can be quite a bit eaier to build than a competitive FSAE car, so we do have that in our favor. We won't be taking advantage much of the added time between when FSAE competitions are and SCCA Nats because we'll need to start our next FSAE design well before then to stay competitive there. We're still on track to have the A-Mod driving this spring.

 - FSAE Sponsors aren't really motivated by the same things as traditional motorsports sponsors. It's more of a donation towards an education program than a publicity thing. Or they're looking to hook future engineers on their products, or hire them. We've kept most of the same sponsors from FSAE to A-mod, haven't really gained or lost any.

 - We have some very interesting A-Mod connections with this team. I'll let those people reveal themselves if they want to.

 - For size reference, these wings share a lot of DNA with these: https://grassrootsmotorsports.com/forum/grm/scca-rallyx-national-championship-contender-or-mia/175742/page1/

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
12/27/20 7:20 p.m.

Really excited you guys are doing this. I've always wanted to see an SAE team go all-in an the actual A-Mod ruleset.

So, a couple questions. First, it looks like the trend with some of the newest A-Mod cars is a really high track/wheelbase ratio. I'm assuming this has a not to do with narrower cars just being better autocross cars, but your comment about usable power made me also wonder whether the longer wheelbases were an easier way to get power to the ground. Your design seems to have a more traditional SAE proportion. Good thing? Bad thing? Some of both thing?

Also, is there any thought of changing up the powertrain? As has been mentioned, Arctic Cats and CVTs seem to be the state of the art in A-Mod, but it seems like there's also other choices aside from the traditional high-strung 4cyl liter powerplants. Big twins? RC51 V-twin? V4? Seems like there's other configurations that could give broader powerbands without much of a packaging problem. Especially a V-twin. Slightly taller than a four, but nice and narrow for those tunnels :)

 

nalyd8991
nalyd8991 New Reader
12/27/20 8:55 p.m.

In reply to JG Pasterjak :

I know the Acme special for example had its wheelbase lengthened several times chasing rear weight. They cut that car in half multiple times trying to shift the distribution rearwards and put power down. They were wayyyyyy over minimum. Every time they did that, they further compromised the lateral half of the G circle, leading to the "point and shoot" type car I was describing.

We decided from the outset that we were going to try to outclass the field in the rest of the G-circle rather than chasing acceleration potential. We were able to get the weight distribution we wanted for handling with the minimum wheelbase. The track width is a trade off between slalom frequency and tip-over G's. 
 

The powertrain choice is something that provides more than enough power to spin the rear tires in 2nd while providing enough familiarity to fit in our 1 year design and build cycle. It fits well with the drivetrain configuration we're used to with FSAE.

Basically it comes down to this: If all cars are assumed to have the same tires and same weight, anything you do to increase the acceleration potential of the tires is taking away from somewhere else. We feel that the power we have is plenty to exceed the acceleration potential of the tires in a car that excels everywhere else. So why chase more power?

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