Formula Student is one of the worlds most well established educational motorsport competitions which is designed to provide undergraduates with hands on experience with an innovative and practical project. In the UK it is run by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers and backed by industry and high profile engineers, such as its Patron Ross Brawn of Mercedes GP.
Formula Student began as Formula SAE in the US in 1980, and now involves over 400 universities, competing in more than 10 countries around the world.
The competitions provide young engineers with the opportunity to put theory learned in their degrees into practise in a competitive environment. In addition, the students develop experience of working with a team of likeminded people and gain an understanding of the commercial side of engineering through the Business element of the competition. Formula Student consistently produces a high level of experienced and well rounded, young engineers.
In order to enter the main event, the team must produce a car which abides by a rulebook, published every year by Forumla SAE. The rules are predominantly written to ensure that the competition is fair and safe and so they are relatively open, allowing for a huge variety of designs and innovations. Each car must be able to pass rigorous technical and safety scrutineering including a tilt test, brake test and noise test before it is allowed to compete.
The Class 1 competition consists of both dynamic and static events. There are 7 events in total and the cars are given scores in each, these scores are added together to provide an overall score out of 1000 and ranked against the other teams.
The static events are designed to test the team’s communication, understanding and presentation abilities and are; the Design Event (150points), Cost Event (100points) and the Business Presentation (75points).
The dynamic events test the performance of the car in a variety of different aspects providing an interesting challenge and compromise as designs which perform well in one event, may not perform so well in others! The Skid Pad (50points) tests the maximum lateral acceleration of the car using a figure of eight. The Acceleration (75points) test the straight line acceleration of the car. The Autocross (150points) tests the cars cornering ability and the Endurance (300points) tests the cornering ability along with the durability and reliability of the car. Each dynamic event is timed and a score given accordingly. In addition, the car is given a score based on its fuel efficiency during the Endurance event for the Fuel Economy event (100points).
In addition, there is a Class 2 event intended as an entry class for new teams who have yet to design a car which involves the three static events only. Team Bath Racing use this event as a practise run and platform to receive design feedback for the third years before they build a car in their final year of study and enter Class 1 the following year.