A $300 Hyundai Excel purchased as a project for Certificate II Mechanical Engineering students at TAFE SA won the South Australian Motor Racing Championships (Circuit Excel) at the weekend and set a new Mallala Raceway class lap record in the process.
The Circuit Excel category at the Championships is one of the fastest growing classes in South Australian motorsport and a platform for developing the skills of both drivers and engineers.
The 1998 Hyundai won all four races at the Championships in only its second outing as a race car, its first in the Championships, and successfully fended off competition from teams with much bigger budgets and more experience.
Since the car was purchased last year, it has been transformed into a race car by TAFE SA students at the Regency campus, with a replacement engine, gearbox, tyres, suspension and racing rig in order to make the car both safe and race ready.
Students had to comply with strict guidelines in preparing the car to ensure it qualified for entry into SA Motor Racing Championships. No major changes are allowed to the original production car to maintain an even playing field for races but the performance of the car can be optimised.
Optimisation work undertaken included changing the car over to an adjustable coil-over suspension and revising the driving position within the car.
The car was then given to signwriting students at the TAFE SA Gilles Plains campus where it was painted and sign written before going to automotive students at the Croydon campus for dyno-tuning to maximise the car’s race performance.
The car was driven to victory at the Championships by accomplished South Australian driver Asher Johnston who worked closely with students on the car’s development.
TAFA SA Mechanical Engineering Lecturer Wayne Pannowitch said the success of the TAFE SA Circuit Excel race car is a testament to the skill and hard work of the students across three TAFE campuses and 4 disciplines.
“It’s been a real team effort with more than 60 students playing a role in the development of the car,” said Mr Pannowitch.
“The experience students gained working on the car has played a key role in developing their skills and improving their prospects for employment after completing their course at TAFE.
“TAFE is about real world training and the race car project is a prime example of the unique approach TAFE adopts to training.”
The TAFE SA Race Car will continue to worked on by students at TAFE SA and compete in SA-based races.
Click here for more information on TAFE SA Automotive courses.