UC3M is designing a single-seater race car to compete with other European universities cuadrito

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A team of students at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) is designing a single-seater race car to participate in the most consolidated educational competition in Europe: Formula Student. The aim of this competition is to present the prototype of the car at the Montmeló track and in Silverstone in 2015.

Formula UC3M

 Up to 45 students from different branches and degree programs, coordinated by five professors, are participating in Formula Student UC3M. “With our efforts and enthusiasm we mean to build a Formula1 style car that can take part in the European championship that is organized by the Formula Student association every year,” explain the team members.

The Formula Student SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) is a competition that is organized by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, an independent society of engineers whose headquarters are in London. Its objective is to inspire and form young engineers to be entrepreneurs and innovators. For this event, the teams from each university design, build, and develop a race car that they also compete with; this offers the students outstanding experience in design and manufacturing as well as in teamwork. The competition has a great impact in the world of engineering, with companies such as Jaguar, Shell, Airbus acting as official sponsors. The competition consists of two tests: static tests, based on aspects such as design, cost analysis and the business plan; and dynamics, which takes into consideration the effectiveness, efficiency, performance and reliability of the car.

 The Formula Student UC3M project emerged from a proposal made a by a group of students whose goal was to participate in this competition. The team is made up of 45 students and five professors, although more people are expected to join the group, according to Javier López Carrillo, the founder of the group, who defines “the relationship and collaboration between the professors and students and a very positive thing.”

 In addition to the various engineering specialties, this is a project that requires broad knowledge and interdisciplinary skills. Because of this, fields such as audiovisual communication, journalism and economics, among others, have converged for this project. Besides designing and building the car, the students have also taken part in the search for sponsors, programming and cost analysis.

When designing the a vehicle for Formula Student it is important that it be “safe for the driver, and for the team members who are working around it, and it must guarantee a level of reliability that means it won’t break down before finishing the competition,” comments one of the professors who is coordinating the project, Daniel García Pozuelo, of UC3M’s Mechanical Engineering Department. In fact, one of the requirements for scoring is to finish all of the tests in the competition.


Like a Ferrari

The UC3M team’s race uses a gasoline engine with a tubular steel chassis. To study the car’s performance, the researchers have used computer simulation; in this phase they are still studying the possibility of incorporating composite materials to the system. The team highlights the fact that they are designing a “high performance single-seat race car that is low cost and can be reproduced by anyone if they have the necessary resources to do so.”

Whereas a good street vehicle can accelerate to 100 km per hour in 9 to 10 seconds, UC3M’s Formula Student race car reaches that speed in “approximately 4 to 6 seconds, like a Ferrari,” explains, Javier López Carrillo. Due to its light weight and it characteristics, the vehicle “is going to be very agile, very fast in transitions and passes on a curve; definitely a fun car to drive and to see,” emphasizes Daniel García Pozuelo.

According to the competition’s regulations, the cost of the vehicle, designed and built, cannot be more than 20,000 Euros. Once the resources to build the vehicle, in terms of both funds and materials, have been acquired, a prototype is expected to be manufactured and ready to compete in 6 to 8 months.
The UC3M Formula Student team allows companies to actively collaborate with the project. From a technical point of view, this opens the possibility of “developing or testing technologies in this vehicle, in addition to helping an engineering student or a student from another field to be trained,” comments Javier López Carrillo. Thanks to the economic resources provided by our sponsors, “we are sure that we will be able to participate in the Formula SAE at Montmeló 2015 competition”, they conclude.

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