History of the competition
In 1981, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in the USA began the "Formula SAE®" competition, in which around 140 student teams from all over the world compete every year. Since 1998, SAE and IMechE (Institution of Mechanical Engineers) in England have been holding the annual "Formula Student" competition, normally composed of around 70 international teams. In 2006 Australia held the sixth "Formula SAE Australaisia" with about 30 such teams. Now there are teams of young engineers in Germany, Italy, Austria, Hungary, Spain, Japan and Brasil competing with each other. The competitions are conducted under nearly all the same rules and regulations, allowing the teams to participate in several different competitions with little or no modifications to their work. In 2011 there was the first electric competition for Formula Student cars. As from 2012 there will be one overall ranking for al types of cars. So the battle between combustion and electric cars begins…
Formula Student exists for more than 10 years and gives universities and colleges the opportunity for competing in a competition with very high standards. The rules and judges (engineers from Audi, BMW, Bosch…) are very strict according to safety and reliability.
The concept is to design and build a small but powerful single-seat race car. After building these cars dozens of international teams (UK, Netherlands, Spain, Germany, USA, Italy, Austria, Japan, South Africa, Brazil, India, Australia, Finland, Norway...) will compete in a competition. These competitions take place worldwide. The most important European competitions take place in Silverstone (UK) and in Hockenheim (Germany). Other European competitions will be held in Hungary, Spain, Italy and Austria.
The competition is divided into two events. Each event is also divided in several tests.
- Scrutineering and safety control: A judge will have a close look at all the parts of the car.
- Tilt test: The car will be tilted until 60 degrees for testing the moment of roll.
- Brake test: The car must brake in a straight line between two marked lines on the ground.
- Rain test: The car will be sprayed with water for 120 seconds from behind, front and above. 120 seconds later the electronics still have to work perfectly.
- Design presentation: A jury will ask very specific questions about the total design of the car.
- Cost and reliability analysis: Every piece of the car has to be analysed on cost and reliability.
- Business presentation: You have to convince the jury (who acts as capital investors) to invest in your project. The project is somewhat imaginary (every team has to build thousand cars) but the budget should be thought-out well.
- Acceleration: Accelerate as fast as possible over a distance of 75 m.
- Autocross: The car has to drive a short race circuit (1 km) on time. The track is quite narrow and has a lot of corners, it can be compared to a kart circuit.
- Skidpad: The car has to drive an 8 shape circuit, each round of the 8 will be timed.
- Endurance: The car has to drive for 22 km, this is also for testing the energy efficiency of the car. Again this is on a narrow track and there is absolutely no chance that a car collides with another. Dynamic characteristics are most important because of many corners and short lengths of the straight parts.
For each test the car gets a score. So for a good total score, it is important for the teams to score on both static and dynamic event.