The Formula Student Racing Team of the University of Stuttgart won the 2018 Formula SAE Michigan, the unofficial world cup of the international Formula Student network. It was the third consecutive year that a team from the University of Stuttgart won the contest.
The event, which took place in Brooklyn, MI, USA, is an international engineering design competition for students. Each team constructs a Formula-style race car and develops a business plan and marketing strategy for small-scale production of its prototype. In addition to testing the vehicle on the track, team members present it to experts from the motorsport, automotive, and aerospace industries. The teams are judged on the car’s performance, design, construction, cost, and their sales presentations.
“The support from HLRS is one of the cornerstones for developing our race cars,” says team member Johannes Burgbacher. The team ran computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulations to improve the car’s aerodynamics, a critical step for improving its lap times. “Computational fluid dynamics is the most important tool in the car’s aerodynamic development process because it determines the aerodynamic forces and visualizes the flow field,” explains team member Marc Zobel.
CFD computations require a high amount of computing power. To help the team, HLRS sponsored computing hours on its NEC cluster, Laki, which primarily serves smaller-scale academic supercomputing needs. Using Laki, numerical computations that would normally take one to two weeks could be completed within one day, making it possible to develop and improve aerodynamic components in considerably less time. At the same time, the students were able to perform flow simulations at high resolution and gain more realistic results.
The 2017 team was also awarded the “Brake Design Award” by the company Akebono Brakes. HLRS has been an official supporter of the University of Stuttgart Student Racing Team since 2016.
— Amelie Liebgott