Day 0: Monday, 19.8.2019
The day of departure to Spain has finally come! In the workshop we pack up the van and truck, leaving between 5 and 6 o’ clock in the afternoon. 11 team members go to the competition; three by truck and eight by van. Along the way we only stop for shorter breaks, the ride proceeds smoothly.
Day 1: Tuesday, 20.8.2019
Overnight we crossed Italy and part of France, in the morning we reach Spain through the French coast. Since we have a few hours left until our registration time slot, we treat ourselves to the visit of Badalona beach at around 10 AM and then we register at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Our truck’s alternator served its turn somewhere in France, so it gets stuck 200 kilometers away from Barcelona. Our problem quickly becomes known around the circuit and some teams are very willing to help and the competition staff is very understanding as well. German team CAT-Racing from Coburg even assures us that they can be ready to retrieve our formula in half an hour. At the end of the day, we decide it’s best to have the truck along with formula and three team members spend the night in France where truck is being repaired. The rest of us set up camp at the racetrack; the view is not to be complained about as we look directly at the racetrack where GT driving takes place.
Day 2: Wednesday, 21.8.2019
The sound of the engines on the track greets us in the morning. As the day before, high-performance Ferrari, Lotus, Porsche, Aston Martin are chasing each other, and Le Mans prototype is being tested. Meanwhile, our racecar is still in France, so we can’t even prepare the pits and we decide to go jump into the sea again. The fun doesn’t last long, though, because our van got robbed and a few thousand euros worth of things were stolen. After visiting the police, we went to go have some lunch while finding out how laid back the Spanish lifestyle really is. During siesta time it is practically impossible to find an open restaurant and shops in the evenings close earlier than in Slovenia. In the afternoon our truck arrives and finally, we can set up a pit and our tent in the social arena. In the evening, we pass pre-scrutineering.
Day 3: Thursday, 22.8.2019
In the morning we pass scrutineering followed by a tilt test. This one has demanded more of our time and patience as we have ever imagined. We had no problems with tilt tests at other competitions, but this time the referee decided that our contact between the tire and the surface does not fit his definition as he grabbed the tire and spun it, which is, in his view, the reason for the unsuccessful test. We did tilt test that day a total of seven times, each time we refined and changed something, and we also turned to officials, but at the end of the day, we are still at the same place as at the beginning. In the evening we talk to other teams and find that many have had similar problems. Only two teams were said to have passed the tilt test that day.
Day 4: Friday, 23.8.2019
At briefing in the morning other groups also report complaints about tilt tests, so it is decided that a piece of paper should be placed between the tire and the surface and if it does not fall to the ground, contact is sufficient. This time we pass in the first try. Noise and brake test also go smoothly, and we can finally take a deep breath. The afternoon is time for driving: at first a test drive, then a skidpad and in the evening acceleration run. This one is attractive to look at with all the shiny lights. We leave the track around one at night. Unfortunately we can’t do without some engine problems, but we solved them promptly and after all the problems that we have had since arriving in Spain, some of us already know us for our perseverance, enthusiasm, skills and as some Portuguese addressed us the last evening: “Ooh, Maribor, the crazy ones «
Day 5: Saturday, 24.8.2019
Today’s discipline is up a bit later, until noon we are preparing our car. Our autocross performance is solid, even though the car is capable of more than it shows due to all the repairs done in the last days. Because of that also the result is not as good as it could be, but at this point, we are satisfied with a few engine failures as possible. Especially regulator causes us problems, but as always, we keep pushing. The heat is not the extenuating circumstance as well.
Day 6: Sunday, 25.8.2019
The last day of Formula Student Spain 2019 has begun. We await the famous endurance slightly nervous about whether our racecar can handle the last challenge. It almost does, but the race ends for us only three laps before the finish. We return to the pits and tidy them up, then eat some food. The afternoon is finally a bit more chill because our work here is done. We hang out with other teams and in the evening toast at the farewell party which lasts until 3 AM when social area should be emptied.
Day 7 and Day 8: Monday, 26.8.2019 and Tuesday, 27.8.2019
In the morning, rested, we clean up our camping stuff and tents and around noon we start our journey back. Because we have time, we stop at the beach by Perpignan. As is appropriate, we also see Monte Carlo at night where we walk the F1 track and run over a curb or two with our van. We arrive in Slovenia at about ten in the morning. We make a spontaneous decision to jump on the Slovenian coast and visit Portorož, stop for lunch at Ljubljana and we return to our Maribor by four o’clock in the afternoon. FS Spain’s story is completed and no matter what problems we had; it will remain a good memory. We have proven to ourselves and the others that where there is a will, there is a way and that we can do more than we imagine. Although this was the last season for some strong members, the rest of us are determined to go full speed ahead.
text & photo: Tajda Kolar