On the eve of May 11th, the Tallinn University of Technology/ University of Applied Sciences joint Formula Student Team Tallinn (FSTT) rose to receive the second prize at product development competition Formula SAE. In Michigan, USA, 117 teams took four days to compete in theoretical knowledge and drives.
The competition culminated with an endurance race, held in tough and testing weather. FSTT kept cool and reasonable – Estonian-like – hitting the day’s best lap time. The team also excelled in theoretical knowhow. FSTT placed among the nine teams making it to the finals. Once there, a barrage of questions had to be endured, by 25 judges. In the end, the Estonians’ knowledge was assessed 2nd best – a huge compliment not only to the FSTT team, but Estonian technical education as such, our students proving to be world class.
The week leading up to the contest, the team spent at the Oakland University holding joint practices with the hosts. Now, the team is back in Oakland, preparing for Formula North competitions, to be held in Canada on May 23rd.
Formula Student is a product development competition, mainly for technical students. The idea came from US, university teams competing under aegis of Formula SAE for close to three decades now. Over these past ten years, Formula Student/SAE has gained popularity and spread all over the world. In Europe, competitions are held since 1998; Formula Student also having reached Japan, Australia and Brazil. Currently, there are over 500 active student teams in the world.
Formula Student consists of designing a small Formula car, building it, presenting it, doing various tests with it, plus races on a track. The project provides students with real-life experience in car design and production, also introducing the young engineers to the economics of car industry.
FSTT is the joint student formula team of Tallinn University of Technology and University of Applied Sciences, one of a few in Eastern Europe and the only one in Baltic States. Every autumn, dozens of young students join the team, to design and build a hi-tech Formula car together with team mates with more experience. In its six years of existence, the team has built five prototypes, currently working on FEST13 – Estonia’s first electric Formula car.
In Michigan, USA, the Formula Student’s birthplace, the Society of Automotive Engineers has organised competitions since 1981. Year by year, the level has risen, the once local contest becoming international, a grand event for 120 top doers. Inspired by the United States, the competition format has spread to the rest of the world: Australia, Japan, UK, Germany etc.