Znak Politechniki Warszawskiej

Motor Sports Students Research Club – Automotive Enthusiasts

Visualization, phot. The Motor Sports Science Club

LOTUS is their trademark – a vehicle based on Lotus Super-7’s design solutions, with a deep orange body. It is the only student car from the University with a certificate of roadworthiness. Now they are working on a buggy – a light recreational vehicle with large wheels and thick tyres, durable suspension, and exposed engine placed in the back.

The Motor Sports Students Research Club has been operating at the Faculty of Automotive and Construction Machinery Engineering since 2009; Tomasz Mydłowski, FACME doctoral student and one of LOTUS’s creators, is the club’s current adviser. In 2015, a group of enthusiasts has joined the club, reactivating its operations after a short hiatus, and decided to build an MTV (Multi-Terrain Vehicle). At first, they wanted to use it to participate in Baja SAE in the United States. However, due to limited funds and excessive technical requirements, they were forced to abandon this idea. But the competition was not the most important thing for them. According to the students, their goal is to implement solutions they’ve been learning about at the University, and to test their ideas in practice.

“At first, we had the idea to build a universal vehicle: for foresters, emergency or military services”, explains Kamil Lepalczyk, a student of mechatronics at FACME. “Later, the project evolved in the direction of sports, but we still plan to equip it with e.g. a snowplough, so the vehicle could be used by the faculty”.

Do It Yourself

The students make the majority of vehicle components on their own. The first MTV plans were very bold: the vehicle was supposed to be amphibious and modular, which would make it easy to modify, dismantle and put back together, like LEGO bricks. Finally, the students decided to change their plans. They want to build a simple, expandable vehicle, which other club members would later modify. The Motor Sports Students Research Club is still looking for new team members that could participate in the project.

“We decided it would be easier to attract other people after we created some kind of foundation, or basis for work”, states Kamil Lepalczyk. “Afterwards, we could also use this vehicle to e.g. test fuels or conduct experiments, perhaps as part of a grant”.

The students from the Motor Sports Students Research Club have to confess that they could very much use a sponsor who would support them financially or technologically.

phot. BPI

Is It That Simple?

What is so special about the MSSC student design when there are similar vehicles on the market already? “It’s unique in that we can build in on our own”, states Michał Targosiński, a second-year student of Mechanics and Machine Design at FACME. “It’s actually a serious challenge. When there is nothing and we have to start from scratch, we have to foresee and plan many things in advance, so that everything could work together in the end”.

“At first glance, our project doesn’t look all that innovative but, on the other hand, where are we supposed to learn design if not at the club?”, adds Kamil Lepalczyk. “Millions of vehicles are on the streets, and their innovativeness often amounts to a single component. We also try to introduce something new when building our buggy”.

Our Way

The vehicle is based on a self-supporting pipe structure with independent suspension. The vehicle is driven by an Italian engine from a Fiat Siena. The entire steering algorithm is the team’s own idea. The Motor Sports Students Research Club also wants to automatize their car’s gearbox.

Currently, the vehicle’s rear suspension is almost finished, and the engine is installed on the frame along with the entire power train. Wheels are also present. Later, there will be time to build the front suspension. The next stage will consist of the parallel installation of engine equipment, i.e. the cooling system and fuel feed, as well as the steering system and the interior. Finally, the body will be created using glass fibre and resin.

What Next?

“We would like to connect the club’s activities with motor sports like the club’s name suggests”, says Michał Targosiński, who is also a car mechanic at rallies.

The club members disclosed that, after they build their vehicle, they will gladly use it to participate in the Polish Buggy League. The club, taking advantage of contacts with various companies, also decided to organise training courses for other students, because gaining knowledge in practice and sharing it with others are the most important values club members can gain from this experience.

“It often happens that we design something, calculate, and later, in the workshop, it turns out that it doesn’t want to work like we planned”, Kamil Lepalczyk laughs. “However, failures don’t depress us; we continue to work and tinker”.

Monika Bukowska

Office for Promotion and Information