VIT students’ F1 race car design comes up a winner in Italy

Competing among 80 teams from over 20 countries, including Germany, Japan, Italy, the U.K. and Austria, a 40-member team from VIT University, Vellore, bagged the second position in the Cost and Manufacturing Event at Formula SAE (engineering design) Italy and Formula Electric Italy.

The event was held at Varano de’ Melegari, Parma Province in Italy from September 13 to 16.

Briefing reporters about the event, G. Viswanathan, VIT Chancellor, said here on Tuesday that the Italian Automotive Technical Association, in collaboration with SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers), organised the ninth edition of the competition that provided undergraduate and post-graduate students from across the globe a platform to demonstrate their engineering skills, and team spirit by conceiving, designing and fabricating a formula style race car.

Prateek Sibal, captain of Pravega Racing, the race car design team of VIT, said that the car designed by the team has all systems found in a regular car and works on a combustion engine. It was designed at the automotive workshop of the School of Mechanical and Building Sciences (SMBS) at VIT.

“We changed the engine’s parameters and tested the engine at the workshop. We used Matlab software and Tire Data that the team had purchased from the U.S.-based Tire Test Consortium to simulate the tires and the car, based on which we designed the geometry of the car,” he said. The team designed a bell crank (that transfers the load of the tire) and aluminum rim for the tires.

The team began its work with a clear goal of building a safe, simple and reliable car. With this goal in mind, the students performed extensive analysis on vehicle components using finite element and computational fluid dynamics approach. The vehicle design was validated with extensive testing, and the team’s effort in setting up a fuel injector test bench and engine test rig were appreciated by design judges from companies such as Ferrari, Fiat and Dallara. On the electronics front, the team implemented advanced features such as launch control and clutch-less gear shifting. Overall, the team was ranked 20th and best amongst the Indian teams participating at the event.

Sibal said the team did not confine itself to the design of the car, but also focused on marketability of the vehicle. The car designed by the team cost Rs.30 lakh. The car grabbed 11th position in the business presentation category, and 19th position in design.

A. Senthil Kumar, Dean of SMBS, and Porpatham E., faculty adviser to the team who guided it in building a safe and reliable car for 2013, have now presented the young engineers a challenge to build a car that can achieve a speed of 0-100 kmph in less than four seconds for the 2014 event.





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