Following a successful 2017 Formula Student Australasia competition, Monash Motorsport embarked on what has been our most ambitious Europe campaign to date. During our two month stay, we competed with both our combustion and first year electric car in the Formula Student UK, Austria and Germany competitions. We set out not only to improve upon our previous international campaign, but also to represent Australian engineering and demonstrate our hard work through achieving fantastic results.
Unlike the previous campaign, this time we competed with two cars, which meant double the work in terms of preparation and logistics. In order to fully optimise the cars and maximise driver seat time prior to shipping, the team worked tirelessly to execute the rigorous testing plan. By the time the shipping container was sealed, M17-E and M17-C had driven a combined total of 3300 km, and all of our drivers were feeling confident and competition ready.
European Campaign Timeline, 2018
Once arrived in Germany on the 27th of June, we were again hosted by Rennteam and Greenteam based at the University of Stuttgart, who generously provided us with facilities and a workspace for two months. Additionally, we stayed with our friends from Oxford Brookes Racing five days prior to Formula Student UK as well as being hosted by DHBW Engineering Stuttgart after Formula Student UK. This was a fantastic opportunity to exchange knowledge and experience, as well as observe how some of the world’s best teams operate on a day to day basis.
Throughout the weeks leading up to competition, we also had the opportunity to test with KA-Raceing from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Global Formula Racing from DHBW Ravensburg and Oregon State University, TUFast Racing from the Technical University of Munich and Cardiff Racing from Cardiff University – some of the highest performing teams in the Formula Student competition – as well as receiving an invitation to attend the selective practice event hosted by Bosch Germany at their Boxberg automotive proving ground facility. By then, the team and the cars were ready to tackle the first competition.
Testing with KA-Raceing, 2018
We were welcomed to Silverstone by incredibly beautiful weather which lasted throughout the competition. The competition began with the team achieving quality static results as well as reaching the Design event final, where the car concepts and team’s detailed designs are under the scrutiny of professional motorsport engineers from some of the largest and most successful race teams and OEMs in the world. We were ecstatic to have finished in 3rd place out of 7 finalists and overall 65 teams with M17-C.
The dynamic events started on one of the hottest days of the heat wave during Formula Student UK. We designed our car to withstand Australian summer weather so overheating was not an issue for us.
Formula Student UK Awards Ceremony, 2018
We performed strongly during dynamic events achieving 2nd and 3rd place in Autocross for M17-C and M17-E respectively. Following up these fantastic results, the team scored 1st and 2nd place for M17-C and M17-E in the Endurance event; the best overall dynamic event results for Monash at any European competition. The team was ecstatic to have achieved Overall 1st place for our Combustion car and Overall 3rd place for our Electric car which was also the highest ranked electric vehicle. This was our first ever international competition win and a phenomenal start to our Europe Campaign.
Following this, the team had a few weeks to prepare for our next two competitions. After this, we made the six hour journey to the Red Bull Ring for Formula Student Austria. While this was a more tight-knit competition with only 47 other teams in attendance, it still proved to be a tough competition with many world renowned electric and combustion teams such as Formula Student Delft Racing from Technology University of Delft, AMZ Racing from ETH Zurich and TU Graz Racing from Graz University of Technology. We were impressed with our statics results gaining 1st place for both Combustion Design Event and Business Presentation, as well as 2nd place for Electric Business Presentation and top 10 placings for the Electric Design and Cost & Manufacturing Events.
M17-C and M17-E out for endurance at Formula Student Austria, 2018
The cars performed consistently throughout the dynamic events and achieving top 10 results in Autocross for both categories, and crossing the line in 3rd and 4th place in Endurance for the Combustion and Electric classes respectively. We achieved an amazing result once again with M17-C placing 2nd place Overall and M17-E placing 4th place overall in their respective categories.
With two competitions down and 4 days until our final competition, we launched straight into our final competition, Formula Student Germany. This was the biggest of the three competitions with 115 teams competing in 3 different classes (Combustion, Electric and Driverless) across 6 days. The additional Driverless division provided us with the opportunity to not only be able to observe exciting engineering designs and innovation, but also allowed us to gain and exchange technical knowledge with which we could apply to our future Driverless vehicle.
The high standard of performance from all teams across static and dynamic events really put us to the test. We were thrilled to have achieved 2nd place in Combustion Design event, our team’s highest ever result at Formula Student Germany, and equal 1st in Electric Business Presentation. While our dynamic events were not as impressive as that of the previous competitions, both cars achieved 14th place in Autocross out of 52 Combustion and 25 Electric teams, and placed 9th and 5th for Combustion and Electric Endurance respectively. In the Combustion Endurance event, 24 out of 58 cars finished the event, while in the Electric Endurance event, only 14 out of 39 cars finished the event. We finished in Overall 6th place in both categories – an excellent result especially for having competed against more experienced electric teams with our first ever electric car.
The Team at Formula Student Germany, 2018
The 2018 Europe campaign was one of learning and pushing the limits of what we could do as a team. Every team member gained a great deal of knowledge and forged new friendships with teams from all around the globe. We are extremely proud of the results we have achieved during the campaign and it proved to be an invaluable learning experience.
We would like to thank Rennteam and Greenteam Stuttgart, Oxford Brookes Racing and DHBW Engineering Stuttgart for being such welcoming hosts, and to KA-Raceing, Global Formula Racing, TUFast Racing and Cardiff Racing for generously sharing your testing grounds with us. It was an absolute pleasure to work and compete alongside you.
We extend our gratitude towards Monash University, KTM Australia, Hare and Forbes, Form-A-Sign, PhoenxPLM, Wago and Calm Aluminium – thank you for your generous support throughout the year. A special mention to Gibson Freight who provided us with logistical assistance and expertise, and Bosch Germany for inviting us to their competition practice day. What we achieved in the Europe Campaign was only possible through your help.
Finally, we would like to thank our academic advisors, industry partners, family, friends and our supporters cheering us on from all over the world. We have gained so much knowledge and witnessed amazing feats of engineering and are excited to take these experiences through to our next big challenge; the manufacture and demonstration of our driverless vehicle.
With the Formula SAE Australasia competition right around the corner, we are extremely motivated and ready for what is to come!
– Ruth Li (Business)