What comes to your mind when you see this?
Sports car, race car? Probably Formula One!
What if we told you that there exists a team in a Mumbai college that builds such cars every year and goes to participate in competitions across the globe? Well, don’t be shocked because there is a team consisting entirely of students from KJ Somaiya College of Engineering that is raising the bar for teams internationally. Though Orion Racing India is not the only team in Mumbai, it is a team that has performed consistently over the past 10 years. The competition at which they compete is not one involving wheel to wheel racing but the amount of designing and detailing done on the car is next to none other in the country.
Formula Student is a student level engineering design competition where participants from various universities conceptualise, design, manufacture and test a Formula1 prototype which are judged by various industry professionals.
They were national champions for two consecutive years before taking a break from the national competition to integrate the manufacturing and designing of a better and improved version of the vehicle at the global level. They won the cost event at Formula Student Germany out of 65 teams from around the world and if you think that this has to happen given the difference in costs in India and abroad, save it for another time. The reason is because all factors except the actual cost of the manufacturing of the car (that may vary from country to country) are considered. It isn’t about how much is it worth, it’s more about how smartly you made it.
This team has left behind most IITs in terms of precision, analysis, engineering and all this with a team culture where there are no terms like seniors and juniors but just one word that echoes around their workshop, ‘Team’. To be an engineer is one thing and to apply all that you have learnt in real life is another. Improvising each year, this team has a strong legacy. Way back in 2006, in their first year, they built a basic car just to prove a point to all those asking questions about whether an Indian team can do it or not. It keeps getting tougher each year, but even the experience of the team increases proportionally.
Just to give an example of their ‘give it your best’ attitude, this year, at the national event that took place in Coimbatore, their aim was to present an electric vehicle design concept that is a step towards competing in the electric vehicle competition internationally soon. There sure is a lot of pressure and stress surrounding this ambitious project, given the enormous effort that is required to pull off such a feat. Sleepless nights spent in college, the pressure of delivering before the deadlines, planning the logistics and budget according to requirements, performing well at academics and the list goes on and on! And what happens when some deadline is missed due to reasons like when the manufacturer is on a leave, ill health or floods? Well, when something has to go wrong, it will go wrong! The best you can do is have a backup plan for every scenario possible.
When you have a bazillion parts, there is a lot of calculated risk involved and also a sense of nervousness when designing given that one mistake could let the entire team down.
But when you love doing something, you just do it! Right? After all, success is no accident! It requires work, perseverance, sacrifice and most of all, love! Love of what you are doing.
Orion Racing India, is the Formula Student team from K. J. Somaiya College of Engineering. The team consists of 75+ members from Mechanical, Electronics and Computer Sc. branches ranging from S.Y. to L.Y. of engineering. The team works under the guidance of Prof. Bhushan Pradhan and is mentored by Samir Somaiya.
The team participated at the recently concluded Formula Bharat 2018 (23rd – 28th January 2018), held at the Kari Motor Speedway, Coimbatore. The competition is organised by Mobility Engineering Consortium and it witnesses over 1500 students from the 90 teams in total. ( 71 combustion car teams & 19 electric car teams )
The team won the event with it’s Combustion Vehicle Prototype and Electric Vehicle Design. It was the first time ever that the team developed an Electric Vehicle design, irrespective of their experience with Combustion Vehicles only since last 10 years.
The results by category per individual events are as follows:
– Engineering design: 2nd place
– Business plan: 4th place
– Endurance: 1st place
– Acceleration: 3rd place
– Autocross: 3rd place
– Best driver: Parth Mehta
The 3rd place in acceleration was received by Orion Racing India’s first female driver, Sanjana Dhulla. Being the only female driver amongst 200+ drivers she put her foot on the throttle and ensured that the team secured a podium finish in her event.
The participation of girls in such competitions has been increasing over the day and their contribution to Orion Racing India’s success is unmatchable. The team has a total of 5 female members varying from suspension, electronics and composites departments. Names: Shreya Rajmane, Sanjana Dhulla, Ketki Sanghai, Kopal Gangrade, Nishi Bhemani. Such examples of smart brains and equal opportunities prove the mettle of women in the motorsport industry.
– Cost and sustainability: 2nd place
– Engineering design: 3rd place
– Business plan: 4th place
– Overall (Unofficial): 1st Place
– Cleanest pit award
– Most diligent team award
With a promising start to the year, the team is now working on developing their next combustion prototype (Bellatrix) to compete at Formula Student East, which shall be held in Hungary from 18th – 22nd July 2018.
You can help the team by tapping on the following link
Keep supporting, keep cheering!