Coming off a breakthrough year, the team decided that the new car should be an evolution of the previous years, as it gave us a good footing for the new design. Much of the previous year’s team had graduated, with Daryl Bear, Thomas Sparrow, Jayson Smith, Vladamire Surducki, and Sarah Hardacre all leaving. To fill the gap, new members included Mikhail Inosemstev, Lubo Jirasek, Chris Lawerence, Jarvis Chau, and Dan Truong. The new car would have a Cromoly chassis with aluminum shear panels, in place of the carbon fiber monocoque to speed up the development process and reduce cost, while at the same time develop a chassis that had almost the same stiffness. New suspension designs used smaller and lighter twin tube dampers, with rocker arms and pullrods in the front and bellcranks and pullrods in the rear. Substantial weight saving was also found in the drivetrain, without sacrificing the torsional rigidity of the components nor fatigue life. With a lot of hard work and dedication from all team members, the car was again completed in good time and testing started out in a positive direction, with the car proving to be perfectly reliable right out of the box. With much development time remaining to use to our advantage, it was again possible to develop the car into a well balanced package, and also to have drivers comfortable with the machine. A complete tear down of the car before the competition showed the car to be broken in nicely, and no problems in any systems were found.
Ryerson proved to be a strong team once again, with an overall finish of 24th at the 2004 competition. Unfortunatly, the weather played to our detriment, as a tornado warning was issued while we were lined up for the autocross and qualifying for the endurance. After the storm passed, we had to run on a wet track, which resulted in a lot of fast teams placing below what they could have achieved in the dry. As a result of this, we had to run in the morning pack of cars and were greeted again with a wet track, which showed signs of drying up by midday. The car performed flawlessly, with Dave Demarchi putting on a good show, getting into as close as wheel-to-wheel as you will see in the endurance event, and eventually pressuring one driver so much that they lost control and spun off the track. Brad Moase once again put in a solid drive, taking the car to the finish without a problem.
With two solid years of competition now complete, the team is ready to move forward, with an all new design for the car and exciting new ideas. Our main goal is to optimize the chassis stiffness and suspension geometry and, at the same time, lose some weight from the car, while maintaining our good reliability. With development of the new car already beginning just weeks after the competition this year, we look forward to our strongest season yet.
To download the results from the 2004 competition, click here: fsae2004results.xls (211kb)