10 years TUfast:
TUM Students Construct World Class Racing Cars
TUfast constructed a total of 13 race cars during the last ten years. Because the Formula Student is an engineering competition, it is not simply about trying to be the fastest. The cars compete in eight categories. For example, the acceleration is measured over a distance of 75 meters and the lateral acceleration is measured while driving in figures of eight. Another category is based on driving 22 kilometers at a stretch. "This is where around 30% of the cars fail," says Stefan Fischer, TUfast’s Team Leader of Organization. "There is a change of driver and the engine is turned off. After that, several cars don’t start up again."
New category "Electric"
The supreme discipline is the Engineering Design. The designers are interviewed by judges, they explain their construction and answer questions as to whether the engineering concept was understood or whether the whole construction was thought up and assembled by the team itself. Since 2011, TUfast also takes part in the new category "Electric" and is now constructing two cars: one with a combustion engine and one with an electric drive.
"The challenge is to try and fit two different drive trains in the same kind of chassis, to save the effort of extra development work," says Fischer. The monocoque body is made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP). "This is one of the most challenging team-internal tasks," he explains. "We laminate the monocoque ourselves and we are allowed to use the autoclave of the Institute of Lightweight Structures for curing the laminate."
No credits but priceless experiences
The team currently consists of more than 60 active members – from Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Economics and Physics. Two of them are female. Katrin von Berg is responsible for TUfast’s finances. To the question of what motivates her, she answers: "Within a year, there is an amazing result: a competitive racing car! An objective is agreed on and accomplished within a short time frame – that’s what fascinates me the most." There are no credits for the task, but that’s not what’s important: "We are learning a lot in the way of organization, communication and time management. That's priceless."