BGU students design race car for ‘Peace Road Show’

Formula 1 race car built by students to be featured among vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes and Audi, scheduled to traverse the capital’s streets.

June 12, 2013 22:37
3 minute read.
STUDENT ENGINEERS from BGU Racing pose with the Formula 1 race car they designed

Ben Gurion students Formula 1 race car 370. (photo credit: Courtesy Ben-Gurion Racing)

A Formula 1 race car designed and built by student engineers from Ben-Gurion University will be featured in the Formula 1 “Peace Road Show,” among world-class vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes and Audi, scheduled to traverse the capital’s streets Thursday and Friday.

The team of 35 student engineers, called “Ben-Gurion Racing,” created the race car to compete in FORMULA SAE, an international competition that challenges student engineers from around the world to develop, design and manufacture a “Formula- type single-seat race car” for annual competitions.

“The whole concept is for students to create these cars from scratch and then compete with other students around the world,” said Dor Efroni, one of the student engineers Wednesday. “Our team plans, budgets, fundraises, and builds the cars according to the Formula SAE standards.”

The team’s first two cars have competed internationally twice at SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) events in Italy. In 2011 their car came in 15th place out of a field of 54 competitors; and in September the group placed 11th out of a field of 42 teams.

“Our biggest challenge is to build [the cars] as light as possible, while ensuring it doesn’t break down,” said Efroni. “You need to build as light as you can to get faster acceleration.”

The Formula 1 car being featured in the Road Show took the students 10 months to construct. It has a carbon fiber design, weighs 241 kilos, has 83 horse power and can accelerate from zero to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, said Efroni.

According to website Zero to 60 Times, the typical range for a Formula 1 car to go from zero to 60mph is between 2.1 and 2.7 seconds.

Efroni said the students of Ben-Gurion Racing are delighted that the second race car they built over the past two years will be featured among the world’s best engineered Formula 1 race cars at the historic event.

“This is the first time one of our cars will be driven in Israel and we are very excited,” he said. “We have just been cleared by the government’s motor sports agency to drive it here, so this is a really unique and great time for us.”

Efroni said a third car, currently under construction by the team, is slated to compete in SAE’s next event in Italy this September.

FORMULA SAE, created in 1979, are held annually in countries including the US, Australia, Brazil, Italy, Germany and Britain. More informal events are also held in Hungary, Austria, Spain, Russia and Japan in an identical manner, with hopes of receiving formal approval from the SAE.

Each event is supported by the local automotive industry, which sends its senior engineers to serve as judges and to identify and recruit future engineers.

“Taking part in this competition is a first requirement for employment in most car companies,” said Efroni. “FORMULA SAE takes students out of the classroom and allows them to apply textbook theories to real work experiences.”

The concept behind Formula SAE is that a fictional manufacturer issues a tender for a Formula-type race car containing specific specs each vehicle must comply with to ensure the safety of the participants and have the teams demonstrate original thinking and problem-solving skills.

“The race cars are used as a tool to demonstrate the newest technologies, such as carbon fiber monocoque chassis, ceramic brakes, computerized engine management systems controlled from the steering wheel, stability control systems that include active suspension and much more,” according to BGU’s website.

“Another major aspect of this competition is that one of the students who helped build the car drives it,” said Efroni. “This takes the experience full circle.”

The Peace Road show will travel from the Cinematheque to the Sultan’s Pool, on to the Tower of David, through Mamilla Boulevard, past the King David Hotel, on to Liberty Bell Park, by the Old Train Station, and back to the Cinematheque.

Designated roads will be closed to traffic on Thursday from 12:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., and on Friday from 7:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m.

The event is open and free to the public, although tickets to a specially built grandstand will be available for a small fee.

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