BRSCC MAKES ELECTRIC NEW FRIENDS


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Dominic Ostrowski & Bernard Cottrell with students from Oxford Brookes University and their Formula SAE car

As Formula E grows in popularity and raises the profile of electric vehicle racing, the need for entry-level electric race cars has become more evident. Back in 2014 Dallara Automobili (one of the worlds’ largest manufacturers of racing cars) approached Oxford Brookes University (OBU) with the idea of developing an affordable electric racing vehicle. Thus began the Formula Club-E Development Program.

The project caught the eyes of Bernard Cottrell (Chairman) and Dominic Ostrowski (Competitions Manager) from the BRSCC at the Autosport show, prompting a visit to the impressive facilities at OBU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Mathematical Sciences to meet the team and begin the process of setting up a new, affordable, electric racing series that’s exciting for both drivers and spectators.

The four-year development project is now mid-way through completion. More than 100 postgraduate MSc students will have collectively contributed over 60,000 hours to this project by the end of the fourth year. The talent and calibre of the Department’s students has caught the attention of many leading motorsport and automotive companies; 92% of graduates go on to employment, many in F1, Formula E and other major suppliers to the industry.

Formula Club-E will feature the very latest technology and yet be fundamentally simple, focusing on an exciting racing experience. In order to ensure reliability and range of the vehicle, Oxford Brookes’ students have spent the last two years undertaking detailed simulations of the vehicle. The models allow the vehicle to be virtually tested in a Driving Simulator, and analysis of the battery charge levels and motor performance – even down to the temperature of individual cells within the battery!

The BRSCC’s involvement ensures that the vehicle will be designed with a race series in mind, and will provide the vital link to ensure that there is a competition in which to race the vehicle. To gain a better understanding of the challenges electric racing will pose, the BRSCC invited a group of OBU’s students to visit a recent Oulton Park race event and met Andy Holley (Clerk of the Course) to discuss race formats, safety concerns, charging facilities and other important factors in electric racing.

Oxford Brookes are always looking for more partners to be involved in bringing the car to market – so if you would like to learn more about the Formula Club-E project, or to show your support, please contact mems-enquiry@brookes.ac.uk with the subject “Dallara”.

Watch this space – affordable electric racing is coming!