One of the biggest motivations when I applied to Chalmers Automotive Engineering was to participate in the Chalmers Formula Student racecar team. This probably also applies to ~70% of the team members who came from a foreign country. So, what is Chalmers Formula Student (CFS) and what is the hype all about.
The basics about Formula Student
First, a little about Formula Student. Formula Student (or Formula SAE, outside of Europe) is the world’s largest engineering competition. This year marks the 36 year in the running. Each year, more than 500 student teams design, build, test and compete at events sanctioned by Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) or equivalent organizations. There are several races each year. In my opinion, the most important ones are Michigan, UK, and Germany. The race in Hockenheim, Germany is THE most competitive in the world. The objective of the race is to build future engineers, and the car is merely a by-product.
The Formula One cars!
Now, let’s talk a bit about the car. The cars look like Formula One cars, see picture. They are very tech-savy. There are two ways to build a successful racecar. One way is to have a generous budget (at least half a million dollars) and have very skilled students (members stay on the team for several years). Second way is the CFS approach.
CFS team has probably a fraction of the budget compared to the top teams. However, we perform well consistently (3 place last year in Germany, 1 place in UK in 2012). Moreover, the CFS team always has a full roaster of new members every year and old members retire (not a lot of knowledge transfer, but give more students a learning opportunity).
A little background about myself
During my bachelor years, I participated in the University of Waterloo Formula SAE team and Baja SAE team (similar concept, except for off-road vehicle). It was a lot of hard work. But the experience really strengthens one’s engineering skills and personal abilities. We didn’t reach podium while I was studying at UWaterloo (32 with our Baja team in 2014).
I’m currently working in the Communications subgroup. It is a fantastic opportunity, giving me a high level view of CFS Miracle Workshop. We are going electric this year. Stay tuned.
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Keywords: Chalmers Formula Student, Unparalleled engineering experience, electrification