- Image © Ingrid Depraetere -
VUB Racing, the electrical racing team of Vrije Universiteit Brussel, presented their plans for the upcoming season at the VUB Photonics Campus. With the support of B-PHOT Brussels Photonics, a team of 32 motivated students has launched their project together with their main partners.
VUB Racing is the Vrije Universiteit Brussel's competitive EV racing team that competes in international Formula Student competitions. Formula Student is very similar to Formula 1: follow a rulebook, build a car, enter a race.
A university racing team ensures that young engineers are permanently challenged and motivated to keep improving their knowledge and skills. The competitive nature of the project makes students work differently than they are used to from their lectures. The business side of maintaining a race team is the perfect opportunity for students interested in entrepreneurship to gain experience for their future tasks. Moreover, the important group aspect is something you won't find anywhere else on the same scale as an international engineering competition.
"Thanks to our collaboration with B-PHOT, the team has doubled in membership," says co-manager Ruben De Backer of VUB Racing. "They played a crucial role in resurrecting the team after the COVID pandemic. Together with B-PHOT, we made sure there was a real professionalisation within the team. And this allowed us to move from a team working within a single discipline to a truly university team."
"This year, 32 motivated students will start building the latest generation of our car that will be the fastest, lightest and most reliable of our cars. In addition to the previous versions of the car, this new model will be almost incomparable by adding aerodynamic elements, among other things. We are also launching a plan with five master students to race the race car autonomously, without a driver."
According to De Backer, some other partners are also indispensable: "The technical expertise of our friends at Atlas Copco always comes in handy. Members and alumni of VUB Racing do internships there and sometimes they even start their careers with our main partner. We have a lot of collaborations that purely help us get components to build our vehicles. Think top bearings from SKF, Formula 1 suspensions from R-Tec and, of course, the fantastic circuit boards and electronic support from EuroCircuits. Premium Partners ensures that we have clear branding for our events. Thanks to our contacts at B-PHOT, we can use their professional equipment. They are also responsible for brokering the professional operation of our race team. For example, the blue team clothing by L.S Flocking was their idea!"
What sets VUB Racing apart from the other teams is that they operate under the 'Built not bought' principle. Instead of buying components, they focus on building their own parts as much as possible. An example of this is their axial-flux engines they built last year. Only a handful of teams design and make these themselves.
"Last year we participated in the Formula Student competition in the Netherlands with our car Atlas, where we finished nineteenth, in the middle of the Belgian teams. Our goal going into next year is to finish as the best Belgian team with a big focus on the "engineering design" part of the competition where we want to finish in the top five. This is a part of the competition where the team's design choices are tested and which we can score very high on with our 'Built not bought' mentality."
Images © VUB Racing 2022
Image © Ingrid Depraetere (Het Nieuwsblad)