What's Formula Student?
Formula student is an event organised annually by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International. The objective of the event is to unite students from various disciplines of Engineering to design and manufacture a Formula inspired racing car that follows a particular set of rules and guidelines and that is viable for mass production.
Safety and Ergonomics are the main aims in the car. The prototype race car is judged in a number of events that include Statics, Dynamics & Endurance race. The Statics round consists of presenting the virtual design and specifications of the car via the Design report, Cost Report & Business Report. In the Dynamics round, the car is put through tests like Brake Test, Acceleration Test, Skid-Pad Test and Autocross to gauge its performance in real life situations.
The final round is the Endurance race in which the teams race their vehicles on the track only after successful technical and performance inspections. Points are assigned to the teams on the basis of their performance in these tests and the team with the maximum number of points is declared as the winner of the event.
An engineering design report is handed in to the jury before the event starts and defended at a design presentation in front of expert judges. Evaluated are not only the use of new materials and creative assembly technologies, but also the overall construction and weight of the vehicle.
Costs are an important factor for building a race car. Hence, the students deal with cost estimations, manufacturing techniques and processes in the Cost Event. The discipline consists of a written report (the Cost Report) and a discussion with the judges around the manufactured prototype. The Cost Report contains a list of all components.
With a clever business plan and a convincing sales talk, the students are supposed to sell a short run order of their race car to a fictional investment group, represented by the jury.
Two circles with a diameter of 15.25 meters each, forming an eight have to be passed twice. Two drivers of each team have two tries to get through the so called skidpad as quickly as possible. The fastest lap time of all four trials is taken for judgement.
The car is accelerated from a standing position across a distance of 75 meters. Again two drivers of each team get two chances to master the challenge and the fastest time counts.
At the autocross event, a 1 kilometre sprint circuit has to be driven to show how easy the car is to drive. This circuit consists of straights, hairpin bends and slaloms. No training laps are permitted and the best lap time is taken to determine the start position in the endurance race. All teams supply two drivers who have two tries. The fastest lap time of the four runs counts.
During the endurance race the energy usage is being monitored using an energy meter from the competition that is installed in the car. The car that is the most energy efficient will get the highest score.
On a track similar to the autocross, a race is driven across 22 kilometres. After eleven kilometres the teams have to do a compulsory driver change which has to be performed within three minutes. The team who finishes the endurance with the fastest time wins.