Formula Student 2014: Dutch team storms to victory with electric car


An electric car from TU Delft, from the Delft Institute of Technology in the Netherlands, stormed to victory at Formula Student 2014, the world’s largest student motorsport event. The competition took place at the Silverstone Circuit, the home of British motorsport, from 9-13 July 2014, and welcomed 106 teams from 38 countries around the world, including 37 UK universities.

After almost 12 months of planning, designing and building, this year’s competition saw about 3000 of the world’s best young engineers descend on the Silverstone circuit to battle it out and see who would be crowned Formula Student 2014 champion. Hundreds of people packed the paddocks to cheer on their teams, as a year of work and thousands of hours spent in the garage came down to eight technical and dynamic events.

Two days prior to the start of the competition, BINDT-sponsored Formula Student Northampton team – FSN.Racing – held an official launch for sponsors, friends and family to preview their single-seat racing car. Although FSN.Racing had made major progress, by the date of their launch the team already knew that they would not be able to take part in the dynamic tests due to some last-minute technical issues.

The lack of key tools had resulted in some jobs being contracted out, one of which was the bending of the safety hoops. Unfortunately, the part created was too narrow and the only way around this was to move the driver’s cockpit
100 mm further back. However, this had a knock-on effect: the engine and the gearbox would also have to be moved and this would cause problems with the driveshaft. With only two days left to work on the car, the team realised they could not fix the problem without having to redesign the entire back end of the vehicle, which wasn’t possible in the time available.

Despite this, they could still receive points from entering the car in the static events. The team also calculated that they could recycle 80% of the current car for the 2015 model by doing so.
Richard Folkson, Formula Student Chief Judge and President Elect of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “This year’s competition was absolutely fantastic, and the quality of engineering on show has never been higher. The TU Delft students were deserved winners – they built a tremendous vehicle, which contained various innovative technologies that we had never seen before in Formula Student. There was a tremendous atmosphere at Silverstone for what was a very close competition. Every one of the 3000 students who took part should be proud of what they’ve achieved.”

With the points received at the end of the five-day competition, FSN.Racing gathered a wealth of knowledge from comparing themselves against the other teams and were eagerly looking forward to the 2015 competition. The plans for next year’s model are already underway, with a full CAD design to be completed by Christmas 2014, a whole team restructure to be in place after recruiting starts in September 2014 and, most importantly, plans to take advantage of the support offered by the sponsors and to use their knowledge to increase performance.

The team will be visiting the NDT 2014 Annual Conference in Manchester, from 9-11 September, where the car will be on display. BINDT continues to show its support to FSN.Racing with a further two years’ sponsorship and looks forward to following the team’s progress for next year’s event… watch this space!