The international construction competition Formula Student has started a new season – already in May the racing team Deefholt Dynamics of the Private University of Economics and Technology (PHWT) Diepholz (Germany) will start at the ZF Race Camp in Friedrichshafen (Germany). In Diesel Technic AG, the team has found another sponsor to bring a competitive electric car onto the asphalt and to score as many points as possible.
The spare parts supplier from Germany has provided financial support to the team Deefholt Dynamics. An investment in the future. After all, electromobility plays a major role in the current discussion about the future of the automotive industry. However, the international Formula Student construction competition shows that the industry is not remaining on its current stage, but is also actively working on further development in the promotion of young talent. At PHWT, 48 students from the fields of electrical engineering, mechatronics, mechanical engineering and industrial engineering form the "Racing Team" of the Deefholt Dynamics Association. Joel Rybak, a dual student at Diesel Technic AG, is also involved.
The 22-year-old is always keeping an eye on his smartphone: There could be a call or e-mail at any time. And with it perhaps also a new sponsor. Joel Rybak is a member of the sponsoring group of the Deefholt Dynamics team. "My job is to win sponsors for the project," is how Joel Rybak describes his work. "This includes maintaining contacts with existing sponsors as well as the acquisition of new companies. We present the project and our concept to companies and try to convince them to support us." An important part of being competitive at all. The money goes, for example, into research, materials and public image.
Furthermore, Joel Rybak and his group take care of the organization and execution of sponsoring events and provide the sponsors with information. "We also support the presentation of Deefholt Dynamics in the social media and on the homepage," continues the 22-year-old student of industrial engineering (Bachelor of Engineering).
Formula Student is the world's largest construction competition for students. This competition is advertised anew every year. Formula Student has also existed in Germany since 2006, under the patronage of the Association of German Engineers (VDI). Worldwide there are now about 12 venues for this competition, for example in America, England, Italy, Spain and the Netherlands. In Germany, the competition takes place at the Hockenheimring. "The rush to take part in this competition is now so great that a right to participate in the respective events in the different countries must be worked out through a so-called registration quiz," reports Prof. Dr.-Ing. Thomas Plegge from the PHWT. PHWT has been participating in the competition with a team since 2006. Since 2011 there is also the association Deefholt Dynamics e.V. to promote the project work better.
The task is to develop a racing car similar to a Formula 1 car. The documentation of the design process plays a decisive role here. "Design details and in-depth knowledge of driving physics are tested in oral examinations at the respective events. A possible marketing concept for the racing vehicle is also to be developed, which must also be presented at the events in the form of a business plan," Thomas Plegge continues. In addition to three so-called static events, there are also five dynamic events at which the racing car is tested in driving situations. Points will be distributed for all sub-disciplines and the winners of the entire competition will be determined later.
Deefholt Dynamics has a clear goal in mind for this season: To build a reliable electric racing car with good driving characteristics such as acceleration and handling. But also the economic aspects have to be right in order to collect more points.
Last year's team had problems in constructing a car that could even take part in the races and finishing the endurance tests, for which a particularly large number of points await. The racing car did not always meet the high demands of the Formula Student in 2017. "We can learn from these problems and use the findings. There is a lively exchange with last year's team," says Joel Rybak.
The diffuser, front and rear wings are to be fitted in the new car to ensure better aerodynamics. In addition, the bodywork is to become narrower, with the entire car weighing less. Lighter and more powerful batteries could save up to 80 kilograms. With a weight of around 250 kilograms, this is an important factor. It remains to be seen, however, whether this project is still to be implemented in view of the time frame. The team also relies on a faster exchange of the electronics in order to be able to rectify possible faults or defective parts at the events on site.
Other areas in which the team collected only a few points in 2017, such as public image, are also to be improved this time. Joel Rybak clarifies the motivation: "We want to be among the top 3 in static events, for example, in business plans. That's ambitious, but doable!"
For Deefholt Dynamics, participating in the Formula Student is a temporal challenge – especially with regard to the teams in which only full-time students from Munich or Stuttgart are involved. "We are taking care of this one-year project in addition to regular dual studies," explains Joel Rybak. That means: The students are also employed in their training company. So while it was about qualifying for races, many also had to master their intermediate examination. Nevertheless, they participate in ZF Race Camp in Friedrichshafen (May 17 and 18), Formula Student Netherlands in Assen (July 9 to 12) and Formula Student Germany at Hockenheimring (August 6 to 12). Joel Rybak and his teammates are motivated: "The goal is to greatly improve the placement. And that's what the whole team is working on right now!"