Interview with AGH Racing team
is to take part in Formula Student competition,
where we can present the race car,
which is designed and built entirely by us.”
Tubes International: What was the starting point for AGH Racing team?
AGH Racing: The history of AGH Racing team began in 2012, when a bunch of motoring enthusiasts from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics decided to challenge a seemingly insane idea – to build the first in Cracow, student race car. We took an experimental approach to build the first race car, but despite the fact that it was made using a trial and error method, the construction was so good, that in our first competition at Silverstone Circuit in Great Britain we entered all events. Soon after that successful performance, the project became very popular and recognised by both university students and authorities to encouraged greater support, and as a result, faster project development.
TI: Why race cars?
AGH R: Some of us say it’s motorisation, some say it’s because you can work as an engineer, and others, well… Everyone pursues their own goals, our ultimate goal is to take part in Formula Student competition, where we can present the race car, which is developed and built entirely by us. Although people join AGH Racing team for various reasons, they’re all united by the pride and joy of designing, building and contributing to such a complex project.
TI: How does the process of designing the race car look like?
AGH R: We start from brainstorming, we make many changes and finally we get down to designing. Season by season we become wiser and more experienced. Because we have raced in our former cars, now we possess the data necessary to design better machines. The construction of the car is divided into sections and so is our team – it’s divided into sub-groups. In this way, everyone can focus on their own part of the project. However, we must not forget that the race car must be formed to make a perfectly integrated unit, thus the design meetings of the sub-groups are held at the same time and place, and the cooperation among them is really extensive.
TI: What was the most surprising in the design process?
AGH R: Each year we become more and more efficient in designing, the effects of the experience we’ve gained can be easily noticed, but also the fact that it’s the subsequent race car, not the first one. Many people are amazed by the size of our project team and the fact that we work hand in hand. And, that we can work so effectively, especially that the team is made of students.
TI: How long did it take to build AGH RT4.0, that is Grażyna?
AGH R: Building each racing car, taking into account the whole design process lasts more or less from October till June. Grażyna was a similar story.
TI: What were the products from Tubes International used for?
AGH R: The products that we got from Tubes International were used not only to build a race car system components – cooling system, braking system, fuel system, pneumatic gear shift system, but also to equip our workshops – thanks to the elements of the installation fitted in our workshop this year, we can finally use pneumatic tools. Besides, we used a polyethylene hose and Rilsan HT hose, which were processed by vacuum infusion and hand-laminated to produce some composite elements. Only with these top quality products, we could make perfectly leak free elements. The range of products that Tubes International Cracow branch has in stock is also a massive advantage. In case of emergency, they always had the length of the hose that we needed, so that all elements could be produced on time.
TI: Formuła Student – what is it?
AGH R: The competition is aimed at technical universities and departments from all around the world. On many different race tracks – often the same race tracks, on which Formula 1 racing takes place – students from top higher education institutions show their race cars. Though, it’s not only driving performance that counts but also presentation of the car. The cars belong in different classes, but they all must meet a great range of safety requirements imposed by the FS competition regulations.
The students are judged on a number of criteria in both static and dynamic events. The static event includes Business Presentation, Cost Report, Design Event. The teams, one by one, present their ideas on how a specific number of cars can be profitably manufactured. They describe the costs of building the race car, justify the expenses and finally do the presentation of the whole car giving details of the construction and at the same time answering the questions asked by the judges. Before the race car is allowed to compete in the dynamic disciplines, it must go through so called technical inspection, that is Scrutineering. This test is carried out to verify that the particular construction complies with the Formula Student regulations and that the car can enter the real race track safely. Then the car must pass TILT, NOISE and BREAK tests. If everything goes well, then the series of dynamic disciplines starts, which includes Skid Pad (figure eight test), Acceleration (driving over 75m with the fastest speed) and Autocross, which stands for the fastest lap, but is also a qualifying run for the last discipline of the dynamic event series – Endurance.
TI: How would you summarise 2017 season?
AGH R: Stable growth and success. Grażyna is the best racing car we’ve built so far. Unfortunately, held up by numerous delays, Grażyna showed what it is capable of in Spain and not until then.
TI: What are your plans for the next year?
AGH R: In the next season, we want to enter the competition with two race cars – new combustion engine car and a totally new machine – electric race car. We aim high, we want to win FS competitions, but naturally, we leave some room for error – podium will be also pretty rewarding.
We’ve made some plans to go faraway this time – it’s thanks to „Best of the Best 2.0” grant we received, but I’ll tell you about it due time…
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