July 13, 2013
Want to know where the next generation of race car engineers are going to come from?
Chances are they’ll have taken part in one of the many Formula Student at some point, open to student engineers all over the world with the aim of building and racing a single-seater racing car.
In fact, electric cars came first and second, suggesting something of a paradigm shift in the competition–usually dominated by gasoline-powered racers, is this year simply a one-off or the start of electric car dominance?
First place was taken by the AMZ Racing Team from ETH Zurich in Switzerland, followed by German team UAS Zwickau. Cars are judged over a series of different events, including a figure of eight, autocross, acceleration tests, and a 13-mile endurance event.
Additionally, teams are judged on the cars themselves, industry specialists analyzing the engineering and design, a cost and sustainability analysis, a business presentation and a technical and safety inspection.
1,000 points are up for grabs across the car and performance disciplines, the Swiss team taking an impressive 921.3 points overall. UAS Zwickau followed with 851.5 points.
All the more impressive is the fact that just five years ago, teams fielding electric vehicles weren’t even able to complete the endurance section of the event. Ironically, it was hot conditions–not usually favored by electric vehicles–that took out some of this year’s gasoline favorites.
The results certainly bode well for future Formula Student events, but the organizers aren’t ready to let electric vehicles walk away with things.
“We are delighted by this progress but we will have to see what needs to be done in the future to ensure petrol cars remain competitive,” said Formula Student Chairman, Jon Hilton.
We’re sure many major automakers are thinking along similar lines…