This is an excerpt from the technical teams section of Cactus Flower, the annual magazine of our college. We’d like to share our journey from last year to kick off our new blog, the memory of our ‘love’, the Vega.
“A year ago, a bewildered bunch, remnants of a satisfying result set out to work on their own project, deciding to rebuild the team themselves. Inspired Karters – FS started working on their beautiful red and white monster, the Vega. With new challenges, financial constraints and many many nights of work staring upon the much inexperienced batch, the team started out by listing what needs to be done so that we can go on to the next year with all guns blazing. What happened further is a story that the huge, 57 in number, racing-bound family will never forget.
The motto of a Formula Student team is to build a formula car, bound by certain rules, studied around the driver and driven by the team’s sheer love for motor-sports. To do this, the team is required to have to have a fundamental knowledge of the theoretical aspects of the science required to build up any machine. But what is more important is innovation and the practicality that goes into making the race-car roar down the track. The need of the Formula Student brotherhood arose when the industry felt a lack of engineers who were good on paper but could not apply it in the real world. Another important aspect of the team is money. Finance dominates the Formula circuit as much as the technology. Based in the middle of no-where, the team is already handicapped when it comes to procurement of anything related to the project. The money around isn’t much too. The team functions on a tough budget and has to give up a lot of new ideas because of the above constraints. Any help that comes around is grabbed by all hands possible.
The team last year finally recruited a fully-fledged ‘Controls’ team that included areas like sponsorship, marketing, finance and videography. A lot of burden of the technical team was reduced because of the active role of the controls team. This might be something, but in the circuit, nothing really is enough. Vega was the first car in history of the Inspired Karters to flaunt Carbon fibre bodyworks and build a car with an aerodynamic package. The team also reduced substantially on the weight of the car, with the roll cage weighing around 50% lighter than the previous versions. The team participated in the recently concluded Formula Student, India, which saw teams from all over the country, racing in the motorsport destination of the country, Buddh International Circuit. The competition asks for cars that are the best designed on paper, has the most profitable business and manufacturing plans and races the fastest and is in a way economical too. We finished well in the design event, being placed 9th. When it came to the dynamic events, the team was one of the first in the event to clear the gruelling technical inspection. However, a difference between 2015 and 2016 rules for noise standards, saw us fighting to clear the Noise test. Even though the verdict was ruled against us, the team failed to make changes and clear the noise test due to the poor on field communication of the organisers. Hence, the team couldn’t move on to the dynamic event, a setback that pushed us to a still respectable 14th out of the 50 teams that participated in the event.
As we came back to the college, our work resumed the day after, wasting no time to go into the next year’s event. The seniors handed the baton to the 2nd year batch and the team has headed into the design phase. The institute has been helpful when it comes to professors helping us out with our designs, and it would be amazing if in near future, it help us loosen our financial constraints as well. The budget of the humongous task is a minimum of 15 lakhs every year, much of which is borne by the students, and due to this very constraint, we at times lose out on some brilliant, but less well-off brains of this place. With fellow teams, with their college financially backing them, managing well above 30 lakhs, and some even above 50 lakhs, it boils down to our sheer will power and innovativeness to compete and still emerge as one of the best teams around. We, as it is, are a technical college, and a technical venture such as this should be a privilege to work on. A fest in the college ranges anywhere between 10-15 lakhs to 60-70 lakhs, all of which have dedicated, long standing sponsorship team. The same job in the team is done by a handful of yet inexperienced people. We might have our hands full, but there’s no way this team stops and falls because of the burdens. The support from the BITSian family is longed for. BITSAA has been amazing in bringing us to where we are. Fellow BITSians, such as the EPC and Cactus Flower have been nothing short of helpful in showing the bigger picture of the work of the various sister technical teams of the college. As we move into the next year’s event, every bit of support will carry us along a long way. With this hope, the team will go on and be a better team, every second, every day, and every year.”