[Campus Idol] Formula Racing Team: Passing Down, Marching Forward

A piece of good news from Xiangyang of Hubei in this winter: our Formula Racing Team won the national 12th prize of Formula Student Electric China (FSEC for short), and the first prize of Weilai Cup Best Vehicle Inspection (New Vehicle Team), which refreshed the history of our racing team, and we were recommended by China Society of Automotive Engineers to participate in 2021 Formula Student Electric Japan.

This news inspired not only the students loving the Formula but also all the teachers and students of the racing team. From the beginning of team establishment to todays glorious achievements, the team conquered the difficulties in lacking in funds, weakness in technical strength, and etc. Through the whole journey, they personally experienced the hard-won victory.

Gathering for Dream, With One Heart and One Direction

NCU officially established Formula Racing Team in 2014, and a group of teachers and students loving racing started their journey to FSEC. This event was hosted by China Society of Automotive Engineers, and is a vehicle engineering related event with the strongest national influence, the largest scale and the most participants. All the members of the team carried out whole-course independent design, research and development from drawing design, parts processing to complete vehicle assembly according to the rules and requirements of the competition, and made a small single-seat formula car excellent in acceleration, braking, steering, and other aspects.

The team went through six years up till now, and now has 4 instructors and 29 members. The team consists of Technology Department and Marketing Department, and sets up four major groups including machinery, electronic control, finance office and propaganda. The team is just like a family, and the office and production workshop are team members’ home. In addition to class and dormitory time, I almost spent all the other time in the team, which offers me sense of belonging.” The Mechanical Director of the team Peng Feifan said with deep feelings.

Team members will share document literature and software operation methods when encountering confusion and difficulty. Team leader will arrange task and check assignment every week, and guide the juniors to better deal with their job. Any delay or error in my own task will affect others tasks, and the overall progress, so I will do my best to complete my assignment. said by Student Zhao Zhongli from Electronic Control Department. Team members’ sense of responsibility and mission for the team has passed down in the selfless sharing of document, software and racing knowledge.

Innovative Tackling, Learning via Teaching

From November 8 to November 15 of this year, students of the team took the sixth generation of independently designed and produced racing car to participate in the competition, and carried out an all-round contest of innovative practice ability and teamwork spirit in terms of the projects like oral defense of design, linear acceleration, 8-shaped surrounding, high-speed obstacle avoidance, durability test, and etc. with 100 university students teams from Tsinghua University, Tongji University, and etc.

Behind the historical breakthrough is the hard work of all the members and instructors. Under the circumstance of lacking in fund, members volunteer to invest their scholarship to the research and development of racing car; in order to save fund, they spent a great deal of time to search for information to improve design from the perspective of technology to reduce production cost. In case of obstructed design thoughts, instructors will offer careful guidance, broaden their scope of mind and overcome difficulties for the members.

Taking the car pillar as an example, the car teams of most of the higher institutions need 1500yuan to 1800yuan for production cost. From the perspective of processing, while guaranteeing not greatly affecting light weight, we may save about 500yuan for the cost. Team Leader Zhang Yue showed the sense of achievement for independent innovation.

The Racing Team, by means of reducing raw materials to save cost, made the plan for the key breakthrough in light weight. After one-year laborious research and development, the sixth-generation racing car refreshed the history of FSEC with the overall vehicle weight of 202kg.

Besides the improvement of manufacturing technology, the members of the racing team also needed to prepare the illustration of design philosophy, and assist the referee to conduct several rule checking before the dynamic event. The team members will conduct three times of mechanical check of the racing car, five times of battery box check and three times of electrical appliance check of complete vehicle by means of cross check by each group before the event to ensure no risk at all. On the spot of the event, they completed all the check with the fastest speed, and won the first prize for new car group of Weilai Cup Best Vehicle Inspection.

The FSEC is the best form to assess the level of a team, and the results of the competition also records the fighting spirit of our racing team. There are more than 400 entries in the checklist of car manufacturing and more than 150 pieces of paper for the rules. Mechanical Director Peng Feifan, Electronic Control Director Li Xiaoqian and I can recite all of them basically. Zhang Yue thinks that the rapid and successful completion of vehicle inspection needs the high quality of the racing car, as well as the familiarity with criteria and rules. To accurately and rapidly find the corresponding part of the car when the referee putting forward certain criterion to cooperate with the vehicle inspection is the key to win victory.

Years of Hard Work Achieving Fruitful Results

FSEC is not only a competition, the independent design and production of the racing car could make team members apply the professional theory and knowledge learned to practice, as well as learn the cross-major knowledge of marketing, logistics transportation, motor racing, and etc. Our operation mode is actually a micro vehicle enterprise, members could be familiar with the whole course from design to manufacturing of a car, and they could apply the knowledge learned to the future work, and make contributions to the development of Chinas automobile industry. Zhang Yue said with great ambition.

Under the strong support of the University and School and the joint effort of the racing team, the team set foot in the integration of competition and scientific research, and cultivated team members ability in scientific research with competition. Team members converted the achievements in the car design to scientific research thesis and patent, up to 2020, the racing team has won more than 10 national prizes and 20 provincial-level prizes, and published 8 papers in Chinese core journals and one paper of SCI area 2. These achievements have not only provided rich experience for team members of past years, but also greatly increased the rate of promotion and employment of team members.

Since the foundation of the racing team, the rate of employment of team members in their senior years maintains 100%, and the rate of postgraduate recommendation is increased from 30% to 70%. Among the team members of past years, 17 students were recommended to 985 higher institutions for further study. The graduated members are also braving the wind and the waves and marching forward, showing the glamour of Nanchang Universitys Formula to more people in different places.

Speed challenges the limit, and passion burns our dream. Though 2020 FSEC came to an end, the racing team still has a long way to go. Every honor is a brand new beginning, and the racing team will maintain the original aspiration as always, pass down and march forward, and continue the new glory of Nanchang Universitys Formula.