These students have the winning formula for building their own racing car.
Formula Student (FSAE) is a worldwide competition, held by the Society of Automotive Engineers, where students are challenged to design, build and race their own small-scale racing car.
Despite our love of fast cars and Formula One, the UAE has never had its own FSAE team – until now.
Founded in 2013, Team Gear Shifters is a dynamic group of 20 students from BITS Pilani Institute of Science and Technology in Dubai.
Reporter Siya Rajan hit the gas for a chat with team captain Sadjyot Biswal, while they trial their newest racing car at Dubai Autodrome in Motor City.
After a gruelling nine months of hard work, the team have designed and built their race car that can go a whopping 0-100 in 5 seconds with a top speed of 130 kmph.
Seven members of the team have been trained to drive the single-seater car, which weighs just 250 kgs and is worth AED 200,000.
This is their first formula vehicle for competing in Formula Student Michigan, USA, 2015, coming in 91st out of 120.
Italy was their destination in 2016 and 2017 will take the team on a new adventure to Germany.
Sadjyot says: “The vehicle was a very basic one, it was our first attempt. Since then, we have modified a few things like removing the engine and changed a couple things to come up with our current car.”
“With this car we participated in FSAE Italy, 2015 and since then we have modified it even more.
With their eyes firmly on the Hockenheimring Race Track, Germany in August next year, the team are currently in the design phase of building a faster, carbon-fibre car for the event.
But they’re not just about the winning, Sadiyot assures us.
“Our aim is not just to participate in the competition but also to promote student automotive research in the UAE. We want to compete with our counter parts in USA and Europe by incorporating state of the art technology and concentrating heavily on research and development.”
Sponsored by Transworld Group, Future Racing, Elfit Arabia and Dubai Autodrome, they are the first and only Formula Student team from the UAE.
Alone in their field, the journey hasn’t always been smooth. Biswal, 21 from Delhi, India, says that they’ve battled against a lack of facilities and investors and the team has worked through the night to build vital parts for their cars.
“The UAE as of now does not have any proper automotive manufacturing unit and we have to import most of our parts from USA and Europe. Research and development facilities like advanced wind tunnels, tyre testing units also remain to be absent,” he adds.
“With proper research facilities and finances at our disposal, we can take our car to the next level and compete for the title in the FSAE competition.”
But nothing is going to stop Team Gear Shifters from their dedication to the race cars and putting the UAE and Gulf on the global map of FSAE.
They hope their drive will encourage more young people to take up the Formula Student challenge, so one day the UAE can hold its own FSAE competition.
Their hard work has also been recognized in a clutch of accolades, including beating more than 100 other teams to win the People’s Choice Award for the best innovation/design, walking away with AED 10,000 and the first prize at the the Innovator Show in Abu Dhabi.
(Innovator Show is organised by Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) and Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee (TDC))
Another outstanding achievement is the car itself – the first Formula type vehicle that is completely built in the UAE.
They hope to be showing off their car at a 24 hour car rally at The Autodrome and Formula 4 at Yas Marina soon.
Could you help sponsor or support the team?
Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org or on their website.