For sometime now, a group of engineering students of IIT Kharagpur (IIT-Kgp) have been zipping down the roads on the institute's campus. They have designed a racing car and are testing its endurance on campus for the moment. The special initiative has full support of the institute and has also managed sponsorship from the country's automobile companies.
It took nearly a year for the boys and girls of at least four departments of the institute to design and manufacture the car. Apart from the engine, every other part of the car has been designed and manufactured at the laboratories of the institute.
Armed with this Formula One car, this group of students will enter a global racing competition in the UK. The Silver Stone racing event is organised by the Society for Automotive Engineers and is considered to be the most prestigious event for amateurs in the world. It is attended by students from most top tech schools of the world.
The F-1 car designed by these 25 IIT-Kgp students has been named Kart, with an engine power of 600cc, that has been taken from a passenger car major in India. The chassis, suspension and body have been made by the students using the solid works and ANSYS software, which is a favourite among all students handling automobile technologies.
"The car is able to attain a maximum speed of 160 kmph. However, we are being able to test it at only 120 kmph since we are currently running it on the campus which does not have the right kind of track for such cars," said Anurag Savarnya, leader of the 25-member team. There are four faculty members who have worked alongside students to bring the car to shape.
Among the tech schools that will participate at Silver Stone, 50 miles from London, are Carnegie Melon University, US, University of Hertfordshire, UK, University of California, Los Angeles, Monash University, Australia and Chelmers, Sweden. IIT-Kgp has already been registered as an Indian entry for the event to be held early next year.
The beauty of the event is that students not only have to design and manufacture the car but also drive it. "We are extremely happy with the car that we have been able to manufacture because of the aerodynamic finesse that we have been able to achieve," said C S Kumar, head of the mechanical engineering department. He has been mentoring the project.
The other faculty members are Ranjan Bhattacharya, Kingshuk Bhattacharya and Amiya Mohanty. Apart from mechanical engineering, the other departments involved in the project are electrical, electronics and aerospace engineering.
"We have been able to achieve a satisfactory level in air intake system, which can even be compared to professional F-1 cars. Kart can take in large amounts of air that improves combustion and naturally the output improves remarkably. That is what helps the vehicle gain speed," explained Kumar. The centre of gravity has also been lowered satisfactorily which improves the stability of the car, enabling it to take those sharp turns at high speed, he added.