Dr.-Ing. Carles Grasas, CEO, Applus+ IDIADA; VP Europe, FISITA
Formula Student is a fantastic competition for automotive engineering students, where they exchange technical knowledge and develop values of respect, teamwork and effort in a multi-cultural atmosphere.
The competition challenges team members to “go the extra mile” in their education by incorporating an intensive experience in building and manufacturing a racecar that must stick to specific rules. In particular, the vehicle has to be an open-wheeled, single-seat and open-cockpit type.
The first event took place in the USA in 1981 with six teams and then moved to Europe in 1998 with SAE and IMechE. Formula Student Germany started in 2006 with 40 teams, then in 2010 added electric cars and in 2017 driverless cars.
Formula Student Spain (FSS) is organized by STA (Spanish Society of Automotive Engineers), with the support of relevant Spanish institutions and companies and engages a pool of more than 250 volunteers who work as judges, scrutineers, marshalls, officials and staff in a non-profit way for the event.
The first FSS took place in 2010, with 11 teams participating – since then it has expanded each year, reaching 61 teams in 2017, from Germany, Spain, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, United Kingdom and the USA.
The event took place at Catalunya’s circuit of Montmeló, from 23-27 August 2017, for both internal combustion and electric vehicles, with activities such as Scrutineering (technical inspection), Static Events (business plan, engineering design and cost analysis presentation and scoring) and Dynamic Events, including acceleration, skid pad, autocross, and endurance and efficiency.
This year, apart from being the principal sponsor, IDIADA supported the event with 36 volunteers to provide Technical Scrutineering. This allowed IDIADA valuable contact with a range of students who were participating. Formula Student participants not only have outstanding technical skills but also personal competences that will be an asset to the companies where they will work in the future:
Creativity – to put forward new ideas and innovative solutions
Decisiveness – to make and carry out decisions quickly and correctly
Proactiveness – to work in a team towards the attainment of common goals
Passion – the secret weapon to develop a successful career
The results from FSS 2017 are published here but I would like to highlight the achievements of two teams:
Electric Vehicle Champion (AMZ Racing Team)
This electric 4WD vehicle with self-developed motors had a full aerodynamics package and a hydraulic mode-decoupled suspension system, allowing for superior lateral, longitudinal and yaw acceleration. Together with the innovative decoupled suspension, its high structural stiffness maximized tyre performance and improved handling. Through electric braking, a significant amount of energy was recuperated and stored.
Apart from getting the Electric Vehicle Champion Award, the team was also awarded with the Best Technology Innovation Award, Best Overall Cost Event Electric and Best Overall Engineering Design Electric.
Internal Combustion Vehicle Champion (TU Graz Racing Team)
A vehicle designed with the two main goals of light weight and simplicity. The chassis was a one-piece carbon fibre monocoque, with an impact attenuator, also carbon fibre made. The powertrain consisted of a KTM SX-F 450 engine as a basis, combined with parts from the EXC 500 to get a displacement of 510 cm³.
The extensive use of self-made electronic devices provides support to the driver by improving handling and also by collecting meaningful data to improve overall performance.
With more than 1,500 participants, Formula Student Spain 2017 was a remarkable event, which met with its collaborative objectives. Now, IDIADA and STA are looking forward to Formula Student 2018 next summer – you can enter and find out more here.