Published: 13th December 2018
This Mumbai college is obsessed about their Formula Racing team. Here's why
Atharva Sankhe, captain of the DJS Racing team tells us about what goes into manufacturing their student racing cars and why they're now going electric
Having to choose between the asphalt track and the classroom is a constant struggle for Atharva Sankhe, a student of DJ Sanghvi College of Engineering. Atharva, a final year student is also the captain of DJS Racing, a Formula student team of the college that includes 110 members from different departments and batches.
As part of the team, students are involved in making Formula Student prototype cars. Similar to Formula 1, Formula Student is an international event for students. Unlike the Formula 1 competition, Formula Student is not a racing event. It is an engineering-cum-design event that includes two categories — Dynamic and Static. "We have events in six different countries. For the last six years, our team has been making combustible cars. But this year, for the first time, we are also making electric cars," says Atharva.
Best of the lot: This year, in Austria, DJS Racing won the first place among 36 teams from across the world (PIC: djs-racing.com)
In the static event, cars are judged based on three factors — cost, design and presentation. Students have to justify the manufacturing process and the materials that were used. In the design category, judges decide how well it is designed. The car that has the least weight can go the fastest. "If you are adding some component, you need to validate it," adds Atharva. The next category is the presentation where students have to market the cars. The judges are the potential investors, mostly alumni of Formula Student, so this is a great opportunity to prepare students for the world outside.
While the final year students represent the team in most of the competitions in India and abroad, the first and second-year students are trainees and help in manufacturing the car. So far, the team has made four combustion cars and one electric car. "The technology to make these cars, like CNC machining and laser cutting, is available in India, but the challenge is to find people to sponsor us, especially when it comes to shipping our cars to other countries," says Atharva.
Lead right: Atharva Sankhe, a final-year student and captain of the DJS Racing team (PIC: djs-racing.com)
The team's first event was in 2014 in Germany, where they were declared the best debutant team. After that, they took part in the Formula Bharat 2017, where they won the first place for Best Design. In 2017, they went to Germany again and they were the only Indian team to complete the endurance event. But this year in Austria has been their best so far as they won the first place among 36 teams from across the world.
Talking about moving towards electric cars, Atharva says, "Formula E is an up and coming thing. But they are expensive to make. That's why it's taking longer to reach the people. But again, combustion cars make noise, which excites the audience during a race. Electric cars are silent. It doesn't have the thrill factor."