In Formula Student, future engineers compete with ideas

August 02, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
From July 30 to August 4, the racing car design competition Formula Student Germany takes place at the Hockenheim race track. 115 teams from 25 countries compete with racing car designs. For the first time, 40 battery-electric vehicles are participating.

The competition includes a "dynamic display" (a race, of course) and a "static display" in which aspects such as concept and design are assessed. According to insiders, this is actually the more important part of the competition - it is the moment of the truth for the participants, here they learn if their strategic decisions was right as to which components of the racing cars they develop themselves and which ones they buy or accept from sponsors.

One of the main sponsors is software tool vendor Mathworks. The company offered their Matlab and Simulink software packets for calculation, design, modelling, simulation and systems design - the same software that is used across the entire automotive industry, emphasizes Joachim Schlosser, Technical Manager Academia for Mathworks."Almost all teams participating in the competition accepted our offer and utilized the software to design their vehicles", Schlosser said.

Besides the technical expertise required to design such a vehicle, the competition also puts high demands on capabilities in project management, time management, and team cooperation. Not least for this reason, a significant share of the teams are students of business administration. Of course however, most of them are engineering students. The participation at such a project can boost the professional career of the future engineers. At the event in Hockenheim, job recruiters form the automotive industry are swarming out to the pit lane and seek to contact the teams.