Recap by Tamir Plachinsky, PH.D. student, Ben-Gurion Racing Team Leader and Project Manager (pictured below)
On behalf of the Ben-Gurion Racing team, I am proud to share the story of our amazing experience at this year’s Formula SAE competition in Italy.
Team BGR was among 57 teams from 17 different countries that participated. Most of them were experienced teams from Germany, Italy and Austria, which enjoy the support of their local automotive industries. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev’s BG Racing team comprised of 24 young Israeli engineers, who designed and built the best car they possibly could and were eager to see how it compared with other international race cars. It is important to note this was the first time in history an Israeli university team had tested its mettle in international competition.
The Formula SAE competition requires teams to not only build a prototype of a vehicle to be manufactured, but teams also must present a quality business plan. This requirement adds another level of difficulty and challenges for the engineers, further demonstrating their skills, knowledge and abilities.
The first two days were dedicated to technical inspections and static events including sales presentations, cost reports, and a design event in which teams present their design to the best automotive engineers in the world. This year’s competition featured judges from Ferrari, Maserati and Ducati. After passing the static events and technical inspections, BG Racing was ready for the dynamic events.
The four different events included Acceleration, Skid Pad, Autocross and Endurance (which also evaluates the fuel consumption of the cars). Four students drove the car at the events and the car performed marvellously. Nothing broke or malfunctioned, the engine ran smoothly and we finished all the events in good standing. This cannot be said of many other teams that had their engines blown, suspensions broken, or other catastrophes that prevented them from finishing the races.
After the closing ceremony, a few hours passed, and then the results were finally posted by the organizers. We could not believe our eyes! Team BGR, in our first attempt and coming from a country without any motorsport or automotive industry, finished 15th overall. We finished before many well-funded and experienced teams, and the first out of eight new teams competing. This impressive achievement was not overlooked by the judges and more experienced teams. We received overwhelmingly positive feedback. They all told us they hoped to meet again next year and I distinctly remember one German team leader urging us to “Please continue, please build more cars!”
I am proud of this achievement and incredibly proud of this amazing team. Every single one of them is precious for our industry, and wherever they go they will do marvellous things, because they believe in themselves. I cannot adequately describe the excitement and joy we felt when our car crossed the finish line! It’s absolutely indescribable. After two years of hard work and against all odds - we did it! We made our dream come true.
In my mind, the greatest lesson we learned from this life changing experience is that each individual ultimately has the power to accomplish anything you set your mind to. You have the ability to fulfil your wildest dreams if you are willing to do everything for it.