Formula Student Germany.
Designing and building a race car within just one year: That’s what Formula Student Germany is about. Around 3,500 university students from all over the world took part in this year’s competition. The students deal with every aspect that has to be considered when designing a racing car, from the initial idea through to the test phase. This gives them a great deal of valuable practical experience to add to the knowledge they have acquired during their studies. The team with the best overall package in terms of the dynamic disciplines of construction and performance, as well as the static disciplines of design and cost, will ultimately win the competition.
Volkswagen provides sponsorship for 6 teams from Germany and the Netherlands for several years.
It’s the event for young people studying vehicle engineering: the annual “Formula Student Germany” car-making competition at the legendary Hockenheimring racetrack. Around 120 university teams participated from August 6-12 to connect theory with practice. Each team had a year to develop its vehicle and concept – ranging from electric powertrain and internal combustion engines to human driver or computer algorithm for the “Driverless” category of autonomous race cars.
There are many different Formula Students around the world, but the German competition is the premium event. “Formula Student Germany is the best and most difficult,” says Daan, who has a bachelor’s degree in physics and leads the team from Delft University of Technology. “The vehicle tests in particular, the scrutineering – that’s really tough here.” That is to say, not every race car makes the cut. All of the cars are painstakingly tested while the teams stand nervously to one side, praying that everything goes well.
The best overall package wins
„You work toward this event for a whole year,” Schopmeijer says, “and have only this one chance to win. That makes it pretty exciting.” He steers his team confidently and calmly through the competition. But as he watches the car during a test run, he says: “My heart’s pounding.“
The Formula Student isn’t just about the car’s driving performance. It also includes other categories, such as the best business plan or the most cost-efficient use of various materials.
Points are given for both static disciplines, such as presenting and defending a team’s business plan, or dynamic ones on the racetrack. The team with the most points wins. So it’s not necessarily the fastest car that captures the prize, but the best overall package.
A casual atmosphere
The sun is beating down, and most people are fanning themselves with anything that can generate even the slightest breeze. Hats and umbrellas ward off the sun. The student teams often consist of 60 people – or more, since there also has to be someone who looks after the catering. You could see them hurrying across the site with pots of pasta or mountains of sandwiches. Everywhere, race cars are being pushed carefully out of the pits to the testing area and back again. People know each other, greet each other. There’s concentration in the air, but it’s always casual and very friendly. “I heard you got through scrutineering. Congratulations!” calls out a smiling young man to another team that is under way with a handcart loaded with bottled water. People help each other and push each other to perform at a very high level.
The smells of oil, gasoline and burning rubber fills the air. Engines howl or purr, depending on the power plant under the hood: gasoline or electricity. Everywhere people are tinkering and fine-tuning the cars. Fingers pound commands into laptop keyboards. The weather forecast is checked. The grip of the tires depends on the strength of the sun, and that’s just one of many factors that determine performance. That’s why engineers from Volkswagen are also on-site as volunteers at Formula Student Germany: Team sponsors consult with the teams in the pits and on the racetrack or serve as members of the jury for the ratings. In addition, technology experts and employees of Volkswagen are available in the Race Truck in case students want to learn something more about job and career opportunities at Volkswagen.
A strong team.
We support the following teams both with know-how and financially:
1 DUT Racing Team (TU Delft, The Netherlands)
2 HorsePower Team (Leibniz Uni Hannover, Germany)
3 Bremergy (Uni Bremen, Germany)
4 Ecurie Air (RWTH Aachen, Germany)
5 e-gnitionTeam (TU Hamburg, Germany)
6 Lions Racing Team (TU Braunschweig, Germany)