Throughout the year and world, several events are organized by SAE, IMechE and on private initiative by teams or organizations. The purpose of these events is to determine which car and team have designed and built the best car in terms of performance, design, safety, reliability and so on. Next to that, also the marketing and cost aspects of the car are judged.
As not every element of the competition can be measured in concrete values, some parts of the competition are judged by groups of experienced engineers and managers from the automotive and aerospace industry and the Formula 1. Using their specific knowledge and experience, they take a discerning look at the cars.
The Formula Student competition has a number of elements in which a maximum amount of points has to be gained. A total of 1000 points can be gained; the events at which these points can be won are split up into static and dynamic events. The team with the most points wins the overall standings.
Static events – 325 points
At the static events it’s all about whether you can convince the judges your team has brought the ultimate Formula Student car to the event, according to their measures. It’s not only about having the fastest car, it has to be engineered properly, be marketable and the costs have to be justified:
Design judging – 150 points
At the design judging, you convince the judges that your car is the best engineered car. All judges have a background in motorsports or other fields of engineering and will question all the engineering decisions you’ve made.
Cost and manufacturing judging – 100 points
All costs of the car have to be justified in the Cost Report. This report is then looked at by the cost judges and the teams will be questioned at cost reduction and completeness of the report.
Business presentation – 75 points
The business presentation is all about marketing and profitability. You have to convince judges, in their role as possible investment partners, that you are able to market your car in a profitable way.
Dynamic events – 675 points
There are several dynamic events in which the car itself (and the driver) is tested to its limits. Most events are about being the fastest car but, with increasing importance, fuel economy urges teams to concern about efficiency and weight.
During the acceleration event, the straight line acceleration of the car is tested over a length of 75m. A lot of time can be won by equipping the car with driver aids such as launch control, to limit the amount of wheelspin. The top cars will cover the 75 meter within 4 seconds.
Skidpad – 50 points
The purpose of the skidpad event is to test the steady-state performance of the car. The car has to drive on a figure of 8 track, two laps to the right and two laps to the left. From the obtained times, the lateral acceleration of the cars can be calculated: top car can reach up to 1.4g of steady state acceleration.
The autocross, or sprint, event is very similar to the qualification system Formula 1 used a few years ago: the driver gets two chances to set a time on a track he has never driven before. This really tests the drivers ability to quickly learn a new track.
Endurance – 300 points
The endurance event is the most important dynamic event of the weekend: the car has to complete 22km in once. Halfway, a driver-change has to be made, but no repairs can be made! Only very reliable cars complete the endurance event.
The amount of fuel used during the endurance event is measured: the car with the least amount of fuel used is awarded with 50 points. Usually, a large gap can be witnessed between the one and four-cylinder engine cars, with the one-cylinders always winning.