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Student sits in the racing car of the UMD Racing Team on the campus of the University of Magdeburg (c) Jana Dünnhaupt Uni Magdeburg
18.09.2023 from 
Study + Teaching
From the lecture hall to the Hockenheimring

Want to experience the Formula 1 feeling for yourself? It's possible during your studies at the University of Magdeburg! Since 2008, the student initiative UMD Racing e.V. has been offering motor sports enthusiasts the opportunity to get active. The now approximately 50 members design and build their own racing car in teamwork every year, which is then put on the track at the "Formula Student" race, an international competition among students that revolves around the development of their own racing cars. But the road to the finished car requires a lot of work and ambition.

At the beginning of each winter semester, the team for the upcoming Formula Student season is formed. But not only students of engineering or natural sciences are part of the team, because for business plans or programming also economists or computer scientists are needed. Students from different courses of study are therefore part of the team. Until the pre-Christmas period, they mainly design and work on the development of the individual components. After the turn of the year, the actual construction phase begins, until the first practical tests can finally be run in May. In less than a year, interdisciplinary teamwork will produce a ready-to-run, single-seater formula car.

However, the development of the vehicles does not start fundamentally from scratch every year. The experiences of previous years form the basis for the new season's race car. "Especially in the last few years, we had a lot of need for optimization, because the switch to electric drive was of course new territory for us," explains team member Steven Tepper. He found his way to UMD Racing via his mechanical engineering studies and has now been an active member of the club for 10 years.

Group photo of the UMD Racing Team (c) Formula Student GermanyThe team of UMD Racing e.V. (Photo: Formula Student Germany)

Laura Bentham has also been with the initiative for several years. In the meantime, the Integrated Design Engineering student is even team leader. This year, she again accompanied the members to Baden-Württemberg for the most important event of the year: the German Formula Student competition at the Hockenheimring. Over 100 teams from all over the world come together here every year to pit their vehicles against each other. In various disciplines, both technical performance and business management are evaluated. The team has to convince with an efficient and safe vehicle, but also with good financing plans and a functioning management. That's why not only engineers are needed to build the vehicle, but also organizational talent and management experts for the non-technical area.

From 2024, all starting places at the event will be allocated exclusively to electrically powered vehicles. The switch to electric cars was announced four years ago; last month was the last time race cars with combustion engines competed at the Hockenheimring. However, the Magdeburg team has been driving exclusively with electric motors since last year: "It took almost a year to examine and decide what was best for our team. In the end, however, it was clearly the right decision," recapitulates team leader Laura.

The UMD Racing Team achieved a special success this year in Silverstone, England: At the British Formula Student competition, not only were the technical acceptance tests successfully passed, but the vehicle also impressed with both endurance and strikingly low fuel consumption in the so-called "Endurance Race" from Magdeburg's Unicampus. This earned it the prize for the most efficient vehicle.

Participation pays off for all students

A new student team will now come together just before the start of the semester. "From my experience, I would say that it was worth it for every student, regardless of their major, to invest time in the project," said Steven Tepper. "You gain a lot of technical experience, but more importantly, you gain experience beyond that by working together in an interdisciplinary team. In the meantime, the project has developed so much that you can almost think of it as a small company. Students from all disciplines at the University of Magdeburg, but also from the University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg-Stendal, are therefore very welcome to participate. Interested parties can make initial contacts at the "Market of Opportunities" at the University of Magdeburg on October 5, 2023, as part of the introductory days and talk to members of the association.