Discover Technology and Teamwork as One
A HANDS ON STUDENT PROJECT
Under the umbrella of MAKE Projects in the EPFL, the EPFL Racing Team is among the biggest scale projects made on campus. For the members of the team, Formula Student is an excellent way to put into practice everything learned in theoretical courses during the many semesters of their university careers. These students are either designing systems from scratch or improving systems tested on previous cars. From software to hardware, each part is made to perform best on track. These single seaters being composed of numerous complex interconnected systems, this project is highly interdisciplinary and brings students from many engineering specialties together. By the end of their experience as part of the EPFL Racing Team, every member gains key practical and theoretical skills through building the engineering marvels that these race cars are!
The team first competed in 2019 with our car: Orion. At this point, the rookie team was formed of around fifty students. This first car was a major challenge, it had to be reliable : reducing the risk of electrical or mechanical failure. If this was achieved, the experiment of building a car for the first time would open the doors for future vehicles and competitions! The team completed a functioning and sturdy car with a complete aero kit, although the car was lacking in electronics, with in-house AMS and safety circuits that were not on point. We went to FS Spain in Barcelona and FS Germany in Hockenheim, although without much success. The most important thing was that the team had learned the true undertaking that making a Formula Student Car is. Additionally, we learned a vast understanding of the teamwork such projects require, as well as how to collaborate to tightly integrate all components of the car and the business.
FACT SHEET OF ORION
FRAME CONSTRUCTION Tubular space frame
MATERIAL E235 steel Tubing (round 25mm diameter and square 25x25mm)
OVERALL (L / W / H) 3002mm / 1432mm / 1200mm
WHEELBASE / TRACK (Front / Rear) 1570mm / 1250mm / 1250mm
WEIGHT WITH 68kg DRIVER (Front / Rear) 150kg / 196kg
SUSPENSION Double unequal length A-Arm. Push rod actuated horizontally oriented spring and damper
TYRES (Front / Rear) Avon 7.2/20.0-13 / Avon 7.2/20.0-13
WHEELS (Front / Rear) 7×13, 22mm offset, Al Rim, 4 stud bolt / 7×13, 22mm offset, Al Rim, 4 stud bolt
NUMBER OF MOTORS / LOCATION / MAX POWER 1 / Rear / 100KW
MOTOR TYPE Emrax 228
MAX MOTOR RPM 6000
MOTOR CONTROLLER Unitek Bamocar D3 700
MAX SYSTEM VOLTAGE 600V
ELECTRODE MATERIALS LiPo
COMBINED ACCUMULATOR CAPACITY 8.65 kWh
TRANSMISSION RATIO (PRIMARY / SECONDARY) 1 / 4,03
DRIVE TYPE 520 & 530 X-ring chain
DIFFERENTIAL Adjustable clutch pack limited slip diffe- rential
COOLING Single radiator, with fan on main-hoop bracing
BRAKE SYSTEM 4-Disk system, self made 220mm rotors,adjustable brake balance, AP racing callipers
ELECTRONICS Traction control, launch control, self developed BMS
The 2019 season’s battle-hardened team went to work on building the team’s second car: Mercury, which was completed in 2021. The new insider knowledge permitted us to improve the technology in the car, notably turning to composite fibre for the body and aero kit, as well as developing the electronics. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 FS racing season was cancelled, and the team had an extra year to perfect the design and manufacture. Although there were times quarantine prevented active work on the car, eventually the team again came together to build, in our new lab space on the EPFL Campus. Mercury went to FS Czech Republic, FS East and to FS Germany. Overall, the team celebrated a rule-compliant car which successfully completed the team’s first Endurance race on the Hungaroring in FS East! Since the competitions, Mercury has been used for testing: mainly checking the aero kit and verifying its maximum capacities. Now, it is being reutilized by the Driverless division to become the EPFL Racing Team’s first autonomous car.
FACT SHEET OF MERCURY
FRAME CONSTRUCTION Tubular space frame
MATERIAL Steel, 32kg
OVERALL (L / W / H) 3065mm / 1540mm / 1185mm
WHEELBASE / TRACK (Front / Rear) 1570mm / 1240mm / 1200mm
SUSPENSION (Front / Rear) Double A-arms carbon suspension, pullrod / pushrod
TYRES Hoosier 43075 R25B 16.0 x 7.5-10
WHEELS (Front / Rear) 10” OZ magnesium rims with centerlock
NUMBER OF MOTORS / LOCATION / MAX POWER 2 / Rear / 52KW each
MOTOR TYPE Emrax 188
MAX MOTOR RPM 6500 rpm
MOTOR CONTROLLER Unitek Bamocar D3 400
MAX SYSTEM VOLTAGE 403V
ELECTRODE MATERIALS LiPo
COMBINED ACCUMULATOR CAPACITY 8.3 kWh
TRANSMISSION RATIO (PRIMARY / SECONDARY) 1 / 4,5
DRIVE TYPE Single stage planetary gearbox
DIFFERENTIAL Electronic differential with torque vectoring
COOLING Water cooled
BRAKE SYSTEM regen, adjustable brake balance, 175 mm self made floating discs
COMPETITIONS WITH mERCURY
FS Czech Republic
FS Czech Republic, the first full competition the team participated in in two years, was a rousing success. The team faced a few obstacles during the inspections, including the flat floor that had to be removed. The dynamic events went exceedingly well. Mercury, the second fastest car in the Autocross, could not finish the Endurance due to a technical problem. However, the EPFL Racing Team won the Scrutineering Stars award – the award for the best technical inspection – and finished in 5th place overall!
A week after the competition in the Czech Republic, the team headed to Hungary to the legendary Hungaroring. The team again faced challenges with some aspects of the car but ended up making EPFLRT history by finishing Endurance. The final results were exciting, proving that we can go up against major formula student players and hold our own, finishing in the middle of the scoreboard.
Some weeks after FS East, having taken some time to recuperate from the two eastern European competitions, eight team members – due to pandemic restrictions – headed to Hockenheim for the most prestigious and demanding competitions: FS Germany. Almost 40 electric single-seaters participated in this competition, where all aspects of the car are thoroughly verified and tested. The EPFL Racing Team was confronted with many unforeseen events throughout the week. Nevertheless, we managed to participate in all of the events. The team’s passion was demonstrated: persistence in the face of difficult circumstances. Especially since the demanding nature of FS Germany pushed us to address Mercury’s design flaws, which will allow major improvements on the next car!
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