Israeli Formula SAE Car Headed for Big Competition
An Israeli-made Formula type race car, designed and developed by students of Bezalel Academy and Ben-Gurion University, raced around a track in central Israel Thursday with flair, speed and success as students, lecturers, sponsors and friends watched with excitement and anticipation.
The highly-specialized, powerful race car is a collaborative effort of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) and the Industrial Design Department at Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. It took off for Italy Thursday night after Ran Dekel, a BGU student, took it for a successful test drive around the race track in Kohav Yair this morning.
The Formula-style race car will compete in the international "Formula SAE" competition in Varano de' Melegari in Italy next week. This will be the second year in which Israel participates in this much-anticipated competition, but it is the first year that BGU has partnered with Bezalel for this prestigious event. BGU is in charge of the engineering side of the project while Bezalel is responsible for the style and design.
Designing and developing the race car took a year to complete.
"We employed all the aerodynamic knowledge and research that was provided to us by the Ben-Gurion team,” says Bezalel’s Dori Regev, a senior lecturer in the Industrial Design Department, who developed a car design course especially for this project.
"So, if they told us a certain cavity needs to be provided for or that they need a specific distance between one place and another, we would use this information and thus, together with our own initiative and ideas, we developed the concept. The challenge was to use our abilities and talents as designers and to make them fit in with the needs of the engineers. It was a perfect combination,” says Regev.
“The project presented the unique opportunity to bring together developers from these two complimentary disciplines, which allowed them to conduct a mutually-enriching and real development process, with a front-line view of creating a real automotive product,” says Regev.
BGU team leader, Ben Levitan, was very emotional when speaking about the car.
“This is the first time I’m seeing the car painted with some of the logos and I’m really impressed. We started working on this project a year ago and it feels like a wonderful achievement to be here now. We are a team of 25 students, and personally, it is an honor to have been part of this. I’d like to thank all our sponsors for helping us reach this point as well as BGU’s Department of Mechanical Engineering for its support.
“We believe we have created a race car that will be able to compete with the best Formula SAE teams around the world and we look forward to showing our race car in Italy next week,” he says.
Tamir Plachinsky, founder of the original project last year, who spent the past six months in Italy working on Italian race cars, was very pleased by this year’s race car. “I’m really proud of the team for building such an amazing car,” he says. “This shows that the tradition will continue for many years to come and I’d like to wish the team good luck in Italy.”
Formula SAE is a student-design competition designed to bring academic knowledge to an applied project with industry expectations. The annual competition features academic institutions that design a vehicle that must meet given specifications, and present it for a competitive score. The vehicle must meet the criteria of performance, engineering excellence, innovation, and general appearance. SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) International, which founded the competition, is the major and most important group of automotive engineers in the world.
The BGU/Bezalel Formula SAE race car project could not have happened without the support of its sponsors. They include: Logi-X and The Run-Up Group; UPS; Objet; Pilco Engineering; ITS Engineering; Michael and Joan Rahav and many more supporters of this innovative project.
Last year, the BGU team did incredibly well in its debut performance. The BGU team was the best of the new teams and came in 15th overall out of 57 teams. This year, in conjunction with Bezalel, the team is hoping to do far better – and with this magnificent race car, their chances are looking good.
Formula SAE Italy will take place at the "Riccardo Paletti" Circuit in Varano de' Melegari (PR) from Friday September 14 to Monday September 17, 2012.