ust like go-karting tracks are the breeding ground for the German Formula 1 drivers of the future, university Formula Student teams help launch the careers of many budding vehicle developers. The objective of the student racing competition is largely the same as that of the famous original event, namely to plan, develop and test the vehicle before driving it across the finish line race after race with as few technical faults and driver errors as possible.
Originally only held in the USA, the Formula Student concept quickly took off around the world, with more and more teams wishing to take part in the international engineering competition in the late 1990s and 2000s. As a pioneer in the field of virtual test driving, it was only natural for us to decide to support young engineering enthusiasts with their projects. This is why, ever since the competition gained ground, we have been providing various teams with CarMaker and IPGKinematics licenses to help them make good racing cars even better. Needless to say, in addition to assisting numerous other German and international teams, we chose to lend our support to our local teams formed at Karlsruhe's universities. The KA-RaceIng team established at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT, formerly known as Karlsruhe University) and the High Speed team put together at the Karlsruhe University of Applied Sciences both lined up on the starting grid for the first time at the Hockenheimring motor racing circuit in 2007. We would like to congratulate both teams for having enjoyed 10 successful years! The High Speed team is celebrating this milestone with a special event to be held on May 25, 2016. Meanwhile, the KA-RaceIng team marked this anniversary on April 27, 2016, the same day on which it rolled out this year’s vehicles. And we were there to witness the occasion!
KIT's entire main auditorium was so jam-packed on the evening of the celebration that some attendees even had to stand. With the two covered racing cars arousing everyone's curiosity, the room was buzzing with excitement and anticipation from the outset. The team treated the audience to a varied and lively program. After briefly looking back over the last ten years, the two hosts brought history to life by asking both the team's founding members to take to the stage. Andreas Wagner and Moritz Vaillant revealed the team's inside story with so many anecdotes that the audience almost felt as if they had been transported back in time to the Fundamentals of Vehicle Dynamics lecture held in the winter semester of 2006. "It was the idea of doing something practical that started the whole thing off," explained Moritz Vaillant. The difference between this idea and many others was that it actually became a reality, having been able to win the support of the university, some initial sponsors as well as new and enthusiastic team members. The passion paid off, and in 2007 the team was crowned Best Newcomer, an accolade that marked the start of numerous awards and good rankings over the years. As acknowledged approvingly by Andreas Wagner, "Today, the team is on another level and it's clearly very professional." Both founders also took the opportunity to stress how important it is for students to gain practical experience outside of their studies, stating that the development of soft skills is virtually an inherent part of this.
The many facts, figures and brief accounts shared from over the last ten years left a deep impression. For example, if the internal wiki for sharing knowledge between team members were printed on paper, it would cover 50,000 A4 pages. Another interesting statistic is that 77 rolls of duct tape is used on average each season. A final fact worth mentioning is that the KA-RaceIng team has included members from 29 countries since being founded ten years ago.
As the event reached its climax, attention turned to the topic that had brought us all together – the development of the vehicles themselves. It soon became clear that many future engineers had contributed to their design. Each stage in the development of the racing cars – which this time around include both a petrol and electric model – was presented one by one. As to be expected, we listened particularly closely to the part that mentioned how simulation had been used during the development work – and we were very pleased with what we heard. The two hosts emphasized how "agile steering behavior is extremely important during Formula Student." In fact, tests revealed that, thanks to simulations, this could be improved by 30 percent in tight bends. Then came the evening's long-awaited finale – the unveiling of two very professional and technically optimized racing cars for the 2016 season. The cars are ready to be put through their paces – and if we've piqued your interest, you, too, can drop in on Germany's Formula Student race at the Hockenheimring from August 9–14, 2016.
About the Formula CarMaker program
We are still strongly committed to supporting this initiative. This is because in addition to it being proven that virtual test driving can be used during the Formula Student competition with winning results, our annual training sessions for members of Formula Student teams are always booked up far in advance.
If you have any questions about the Formula CarMaker program, please email our Formula CarMaker support team on FormulaCarMaker@ipg.de.
You can also find out all you need to know on our Formula CarMaker website.