In the beautiful country of Croatia, on a karting race track St. Rauš in Novi Marof near the city of Varaždin, the largest regional Formula Student event is held at the end of August. FS Alpe Adria has come a long way since the first edition in 2017. In 2021 more than 40 teams will take part in the competition. The competition itself is constituted following the rulebook of Formula Student Germany which guarantees professionalism and relevance in the world of Formula Student. Teams with Formula Student Combustion (FSC) and Formula Student Electric (FSE) vehicles are able to participate in the event.
Disciplines at the Rimac FS Alpe Adria
The teams will compete in 2 major categories of disciplines: static and dynamic. Static events include Business Plan Presentation, Cost and Manufacturing and Engineering Design. Dynamic events are: Acceleration, Skid Pad, Autocross, Endurance and Efficiency. Each of these events carry a certain amount of points, totaling in 1000 points available in each category of the cars. Naturally, there can be only one winner and that will be the team who gathers most of the points!
A MORE DETAILED LOOK…
Designing an FS car requires an interdisciplinary approach and a great amount of teamwork. Besides the technical understanding that stands behind a successful development of the car, students must also possess economical and social skills as they are all major parts of the whole operation. These skills are relevant for a future career in the automotive industry which is why cars are thoroughly examined and evaluated through a series of static events. The winners of these events are often not the teams with the highest budget offering the best solution, but rather the teams who are able to extrapolate the most of their resources and implement optimal and innovative solutions.
- Engineering Design – The competition kicks off with teams handing in a technical report describing the properties of their car. This report represents the basis on which the jury of highly-profiled judges evaluate different aspects of the project: layout, technical design, construction and the vehicle production process conduction. That is then followed up by a discussion between the teams and judges for further clarification of the ideas, thought processes and technical competence of the students. The teams may even be asked to remove some parts of the car (e.g. nose cone) so that the hidden components can be examined. Both the engineering solutions, as well as the reasoning behind those solutions are then graded with a maximum of 150 points.
- Cost and Manufacturing – The economics behind the production of any product must be viable. In this category, the teams must provide a comprehensive cost report with a quantitative assessment of all the components of the vehicle. Also, the manufacturing process is to be explained in detail to the jury which then allocates a maximum of 100 points.
- Business Presentation – Presentation skills are of great importance because the team must present their project to a jury panel which represents a fictive company. In this 10-minute presentation, students are required to demonstrate how their design fulfills desires of their target group and they must elaborate on how their car can be successfully marketed. The presentation is then followed up with a 5 minute Q&A with the judges. Finally, the teams are allocated a maximum of 75 points in this category for both types of cars when the judges evaluate the content, structure, editing and post presentation discussion.
In this part of the competition, the teams put their „beasts“ on the track and show what they are made of. The cars are put to their limits across several disciplines in order to evaluate different features. In the events of acceleration, skid pad and autocross, each car is allowed to start with 2 drivers, each having the right to make two attempts. The best result is the one that is ultimately evaluated.
- Acceleration: The car’s acceleration is measured from a standstill over a length of 75 meters. This event emphasises the importance of fine tuning of the engine (or electric motor) and finding a right balance between outright power and the amount of torque combined with good traction. Both FSC and FSE vehicle categories compete in this discipline and are allocated with a maximum of 75 points.
- Skid Pad: This event is here to test the cornering speed of a car. The driver drives his/her car on a „figure 8“ track made of cones for two laps, with only the second lap time being relevant. This is the discipline where the car’s aerodynamics comes to play, as maximum lateral acceleration is achieved when a greater downfore is produced. Driver’s precision is also crucial as any cone knocking results in a time penalty. Both car categories compete in this event and can achieve a maximum of 75 points.
- Autocross: In this discipline, FSC and FSE cars navigate through a 1000 m long track boasting curves, chicanes and straights. The shorter the time needed to complete the course, the better the car’s handling, acceleration/braking characteristics and overall dynamic abilities. Precision driving is also a key factor. Knocking over cones results in a time penalty. This event may be considered as qualifying for the endurance event as the starting grid is determined according to the results achieved in autocross. The maximum points the teams can obtain in autocross is 100 points for both vehicle categories.
- Endurance: The main event. This is the discipline where all the vehicle’s strengths and flaws come to surface as the cars are required to drive over a distance of 22 km proving their durability and composure. The drivers must change after 11 km and up to 4 cars may be on the track at the same time. Here, all of the aforementioned qualities like acceleration, speed, handling, dynamics, fuel economy, efficiency, reliability and driver’s skills are tested to the limits which is why the winner of this event is awarded with the maximum of 300 points, the highest score a team can achieve from a single discipline.
- Efficiency: During the endurance and track drive events, the fuel consumption (for combustion cars) and energy consumption (for electric cars) are monitored. However, to prevent the teams from driving deliberately slow (to minimise their consumption), the efficiency is measured as a ratio of speed and fuel/energy consumption. Both FSC and FSE teams can obtain a maximum of 100 points here.