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Proton Dynamic - from Formula Student to Formula 1?

An electric racing car

Formula Student is a very prestigious competition in the automotive world, source: Proton Dynamic

Business - Innovations – Technology

Students from the Warsaw University of Technology (WUT) and Warsaw School of Economics (SGH) are building an electric racing car for the international competition Formula Student. In July, they will compete against the best teams from all over the world on the Riccardo Paletti race track near Parma.

The idea to enter the competition was born almost a year ago, in May. It took several months to gather the initial ideas and put it all together. In October, work on the racing car started in full swing. The students started to design the vehicle, and additionally to participate in important industry events and look for partners.

“We want to show that we can build an electric car and contribute to the development of the electric vehicle market in Poland,” says Filip Wyrzykowski from WUT.

Automotive family

The Proton Dynamic team is divided into two large sections: a technical division (consisting of students from the Warsaw University of Technology, mainly the Faculty of Automotive and Construction Machine Engineering) and a marketing division (composed of students from the Warsaw School of Economics). They are 34 people passionate about what they do.

Some team members are responsible for mechanics, others work on mechatronics, electronics or even design whole battery packs. The marketing division cares for the business side of the project.

“We are from two different universities and this helps a lot,” says Dorota Bujanowska from SGH. “We discuss things and learn a lot from each other.”

“We meet so often that we have created a sort of family,” Filip Wyrzykowski adds.

Students from Proton Dynamic

Students during their work, source: Proton Dynamic

Like a business

The students have completed a long and arduous design process. It is a very important part of the work – not only because a good car cannot be built without a good design, but also because the entire technical documentation has to be sent to the organizers before the event. It is required to qualify for the competition.

“It was a challenge for us, as we had to apply the knowledge we had not yet gained during our studies,” Filip Wyrzykowski says. “We spent tens of hours reading texts and consulting our teachers.”

There is one more important thing to keep in mind: the regulations of the competition. The document has over 200 pages. “On the one hand, it makes our work easier, because we know exactly what we have to design. But on the other hand, it limits our options, as all elements have to be manufactured exactly as described, even if our idea seems better,” Filip Wyrzykowski points out.

The Proton Dynamic team has already entered the construction stage. The team members are manufacturing individual parts using welding torches, lathes, milling machines... Finally, they can see their design take on a real shape.

“Everything operates like a small business. You could compare it to a startup that designs a new product and prepares to launch it on the market,” Dorota Bujanowska says.

Waiting for July

The Formula Student competition is held on various race tracks, including Silverstone and Hungaroring, circuits familiar to Formula 1 fans. As the dates of subsequent events often overlap, participants have to choose between races. The WUT-SGH team will participate in a competition that will be held in Italy between 11 and 15 July. As in every race from the series, the teams will compete in static (business presentation, cost estimate and design) and dynamic tests (0-100 km/h sprint (acceleration test), figure of eight (to test the structural strength of the vehicle), a 1 km race and a 22 km race).

The tests are preceded with a technical inspection. “For example, electric racing cars are poured with water,” Filip Wyrzykowski says. “This is how the judges want to ensure that all systems are safe for the drivers. If any fuse blows, the team is not allowed to start in the race.”

Both electric and petrol racing cars take part in the competition. There is a joint ranking for all contestants and separate ones for each category, each test and for first-time participants. The Proton Dynamic team wants to compete mainly against electric cars and other teams that have entered the competition for the first time.

Formula Student is a very prestigious competition in the automotive world. Heads of major automotive companies often attend the races to look for interesting solutions and, most importantly, talented employees. “We have heard of cases where competition participants were offered a job in Formula 1 teams,” Filip Wyrzykowski says.

Students from Proton Dynamic

34 people are involved in the project, source: Proton Dynamic

The Proton Dynamic team is composed of:

  • Technical division: Filip Wyrzykowski, Wojciech Szymański, Kamil Siemieniuk, Oskar Bogacz, Jan Pichell, Krzysztof Szymański, Michał Rybakowski, Karol Gortych, Robert Jędrzejewski, Rafał Piotrowski, Jakub Łapiński, Kevin Wróbel, Ignacy Lipowiecki, Natalia Wolska, Paweł Waśkiewicz, Bartek Lipiec, Kamil Kowalczyk, Arkadiusz Kłosok, Daniel Szczepański, Jakub Kisiała, Igor Soroczyński and Dawid Andrzejewski.
  • Marketing division: Dorota Bujanowska, Karol Poślednik, Rafał Matysiak, Krzysztof Grzęda, Oliwer Śliwa, Bartosz Dygas, Beniamin Szlęzak, Robert Raciniewski, Piotr Pater, Janusz Bieniek, Paweł Sokół and Karol Myśliński.