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2024 Season Recap: The E95 Story

Heath Springman (beloved aero lead and waterjet whisperer) tearing up the AutoX course

` Hey guys, Cody here. Before diving into the new year, I want to share how the last year went for the team. the '24 season saw more speed and more miles of driving than any post-COVID year and we all had a blast the whole time (except when filling out the cost report).

Meat and Potatoes

Here are our results from the Michigan May competition.

Let's run through it. Cost was phenomenal. Business was more than phenomenal. Design was very solid, we likely got what we deserved. The remaining dynamic events, unfortunately were not representative of our car's performance. A fuel issue really hurt our ability to drive the car. We nursed it through Friday events but weren't able to make it through endurance. Part of the game. What can happen will happen at MIS.

Back to the Future: Summer Design

Summer design began with an analysis of 2023 comp performance. The chart below compares our 2023 scores with the average score and the maximum possible score in each event.

With the exception of endurance, we scored mostly an average amount of points. Our endurance spindle failure tanked our overall score because of how important endurance is.

Following this analysis, 2024 goals were set. A points goal of 625 was set. This goal would be a points record for the team and would be primarily achievable by a 5% lap time reduction in dynamic events. In addition, a driving deadline of March 1st was set to encourage ample testing time.

Summer design was framed with an emphasis on design evolution. The chassis got stiffer, aero got bigger, and lots of kinematic tweaks set up the car for a fast future.

The Fall

Michelin Fall Shootout 2023 - Team photo prior to a dazzling day of racing

We went to Michelin's Laurens Proving Grounds in October and absolutely threw down! 3rd place finish in the IC class and we had a fun time doing it. This was a particularly important day for the team as it was the first time we have finished an endurance event (granted, not an SAE sanctioned one but still) in many years. We also experienced some cooling issues and properly shark finned our sprocket, but crossed the line with podium pace nonetheless. Here's some endurance footage.

The Spring

First Drive

Many long nights of agony and sometimes triumph culminated in our first drive of the 2024 car on March 5th, just missing our drive deadline of March 1st. It's hard to overstate how hard the team worked to make all their tent shifts, pass their classes, and still cobble together an absolute rocketship of a racecar.

Here's our first drive! This was conducted on a Duke approved road at a Duke approved hour of the night....

SAE Carolina

SAE Carolina 2024 - Desmond seen here with the "No low balls, I know what I have" type of lean on the car

You don't hear of race teams being profitable often.... and SAE Carolina was no exception, but we were close. We had a great day at Hendrick Motorsports in Charlotte. We had the chance to converse with other students and industry professionals before giving a 10 minute design presentation that landed us 2nd place and a $600 prize. If it weren't for buying a drum of Sunoco E-85 R on trip up, we would have finished the day in the black.

Michelin Testing 2024

We went to the wonderful Michelin Laurens Proving Ground again! Great opportunity to set up some skidpad, accel, and slalom runs on an acre of pool table asphalt. See the above steezy drone footage for a nice accel dig. Tragically, a blown head gasket cut our weekend short :(

Formula South - Kennesaw, Georgia

Formula South 2024 - Car looking stunning after 0 miles of racing

Not our best day in GA. We broke a chassis tube on Friday, fixed it by Saturday sunrise, and then blew another head gasket before completing a single event. We might be pushing this engine a little hard. If nothing else, our brand new livery looked damn good.

Michigan 2024

Michigan 2024 - Great car, better people

This one was for all the marbles. Wednesday went superbly. Through tech first try with just a few minor issues that were fixable in the bay. Thursday was pretty good as well. We passed tilt and noise quickly and nearly were the first team with 4 stickers, but some unexpected engine troubles delayed us a bit. Still, quality static event performances got points on the board. Friday started strong with a 18th place autoX burn, but then the MIS gremlins came out. Electrical and engine issues plagued our remaining AutoX, skidpad and accel runs. On Saturday, our morning practice session revealed that our engine issues were still prominent. Despite a valiant effort from the PT folks to tune out the unexpectedly rough throttle response, our endurance stint lasted a mere 100 yards before engine cuts shut us down. A tough way to end an otherwise incredibly successful year.

Comp fuel looking like grain alcohol this year

A few days after comp, we received resolution to our strange powertrain behavior. A number of teams on the FSAE reddit reported having trouble getting their cars running on the E85 provided at competition. After a quick fuel test back at the garage, we can confirm that the fuel at MIS was sadly out of spec. Our tank read right around 90% ethanol content. A hard truth to swallow, but that is racing sometimes. Given the incident, we formally named our 2024 FSAE competitor, "E95". While our test only came out to around E90, E95 had a nicer ring to it and other teams tested around that percentage. Regardless of the reason, not getting the chance to rip around MIS endurance only fires us up more for the 2025 season. I, personally, am so proud of the 2024 team and want to thank the seniors this year for their dedication to this program. I'll close this out with some words for the future; 2025 is coming up all Duke Motorsports.

Signing off for now,



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