Classroom to racetrack: IIT Bombay’s racing team is flying India’s flag high!
If you’re reading this article, chances are you might have heard of Formula 1. Maybe even Formula 2 or Formula 3, but you might not have heard of Formula Student. Don’t fret though, here’s a primer. Formula Student is an international level competition that’s been running for over 20 years now, backed by industry leaders like Mercedes-AMG, Bosch and even big names in motorsport like Ross Brawn. The event is organised by Institution of Mechanical Engineers and is held at Silverstone, hosting about a 100 teams from different universities across the globe each year. Before we dive into what IIT Bombay Racing has achieved in this competition, let’s brush you up on how Formula Student works.
Formula Student is a very strictly regulated event, with constraints on a lot of parts, to keep the competition fair for everyone. The teams are judged based on two kinds of tests. The first are three static tests — design judging, cost analysis and business logic. The last two dive deep into the financial aspect of the competition, ensuring teams are efficient with their resources and allowing the competition to be sustainable. There are obviously driving tests as well — there is an acceleration test, a skidpad, autocross, endurance and efficiency. Each test in the static and dynamic category carries different points. The cars also have to comply with strict safety regulations, especially in the electric and AI categories due to the breadth of things that can possibly go wrong. Only after a team has cleared the scrutiny can they actually take part in the competition.
The Formula Student cars run in different categories including ICE, EV, hybrid, with the latest addition being a separate competition for AI driven cars. IIT Bombay Racing competes in the EV category. Their 12th car, named the EvoK, runs a dual-motor powertrain with a combined output of 105bhp and 800Nm of torque. Coupled with a net weight of just 241kg, it can sprint from 0 to 100kmph in just 3.1 seconds. The EvoK is built on a tubular chassis, made of high performance steel, with the body panels made out of carbonfibre, developed in-house, to save weight.
IIT Bombay Racing has been taking part in this competition for eight years now, and have won the Formula Student award for the best non-UK based team for the last five years straight, beating 82 teams from around the world. The award is given to the team that shows the most technical advancement from the previous year. However, the highlight of their journey came last year, with a fourth place finish in the EV category, the highest ever finish for an Indian team. While Formula Student doesn’t carry nearly as much glamour as Formula 1, it is probably even more interesting to see teams of students putting together racecars that are at the cutting edge of technology. Moreover, having an Indian team finishing in the top four all over the world? That’s something to be proud of.