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Students launch this year’s race car

60 students from 11 study programmes are members of the student club Align Racing UiA where they build their own racing car. Thursday 25 April they launched this year’s race car.

Picture of this year’s racing car team launched the new race car at Campus Grimstad Thursday 25 April. The car is named Solan.
This year’s racing car team launched the new race car at Campus Grimstad Thursday 25 April. The car is named Solan.

‘This year we have built on the experiences gained last year. This year’s car is smaller and lighter than last year’s car and it has been named Solan,’ Andreas Wæhle said when the new car was unveiled.

Wæhle is a student of mechatronics and project leader of Align Racing UiA.

Every year the cross-disciplinary student society, Align Racing UiA, builds a new racing car they compete with in the international Formula Student engineering design competition at Silverstone motor racing circuit in England.

‘In this year’s car the frame, gearing and gas control among other things have been upgraded. It has been designed and custom built to fit the small racing circuits it will compete on,’ Wæhle says. 

Picture of Kristine Knaben is responsible for the unveiling on 25 April and Andreas Wæhle is project leader of Align Racing UiA.

Kristine Knaben is responsible for the unveiling on 25 April and Andreas Wæhle is project leader of Align Racing UiA.

The racing car Solan

The assembly room at Campus Grimstad was packed when the car was presented. Both excited sponsors, cooperation partners, students and members of Align Racing were present.

‘After putting in thousands of hours, blood, sweat and some tears, we are very proud today to present this year’s racing car, Solan, and the team in Align Racing UiA,’ Kristina Knaben said. She is the communications manager of Align Racing UiA and responsible for the unveiling.

Align Racing UiA normally uses a workshop in the Mechatronics Innovation Lab at the University of Agder (UiA) Grimstad campus. But they also have an office space in Campus Kristiansand. It is a cross-disciplinary group of 60 students from 11 study programmes at UiA.

‘We are proud of having created an organisation that not only builds cars. The team of Align Racing UiA also takes care of design, finances, administration, marketing and management,’ Knaben said.

‘We are very grateful to our cooperation partners, Ugland and UiA in particular, for their support from day one. Without them, we would not be standing here today,’ Knaben said.

Unique experience

Michael Rygaard Hansen is dean of Faculty of Engineering and Science at UiA. He was present at the unveiling and was impressed by the race car and the students’ achievements since the start of the project in August.

 ‘One of the most important functions of Align Racing UiA is that it gives the students relevant experience. In the classroom we can teach them a lot through theory and project-based learning, but in a project like this they gain so much more. Here they get to meet challenges and experience situations that we can’t prepare them for in the classroom.’ Rygaard Hansen said.

In Align Racing they plan, construct, design and build a racing car they compete with in the international competition this summer. The students in the club gain unique experience that will benefit them in the workplace.  

(Photo) Michael Rygaard Hansen is dean of Faculty of Engineering and Science at UiA.

Michael Rygaard Hansen is dean of Faculty of Engineering and Science at UiA.

Co-creation

‘Participation in Align Racing UiA helps kickstart your career. You gain experience from working as part of a team of 60 students. We work together to complete a huge project with a tight timeline in addition to our studies,’ Wæhle said.

Rygaard Hansen and the Faculty of Engineering and Science have been supporters since day one. He explains that Align Racing UiA adds an extra dimension to the teaching of the faculty and UiA.

‘The project is carried out in a friendly, competent and professional way, and I want to thank Align Racing UiA for that. The cooperation within the club and across faculties is exemplary to the university as an organisation,’ Rygaard Hansen said. 

A combination of skills

All study programmes can contribute in the student society. The racing car team must consist of students with different backgrounds and a variety of skills.

‘We need people who can contribute with skills from everything from engineering, finance, administration to marketing and information technology. In addition, we need drivers who are willing to practice the necessary amount of time,’ Wæhle says.

Wæhle was also a member of the society last year when they built the racing car Ludvig.

‘I know how much work is needed to succeed with this. The key is to have quality in everything we do and good teamwork,’ Wæhle says.

International competition

Around 100 teams from all over the world take part in the international race car competition for students. The competition consists of a theoretical part and a practical part. In the theoretical part the racing car team must submit reports documenting the activities of Align Racing UiA, a cost report and a separate report presenting the design elements in the construction of the car. The practical part is to race four races with the car they built.

Align Racing UiA took part in the competition for the first time in 2018. They were awarded newcomer of the year. This year they are aiming for a prestigious marketing award. 

‘The award is presented by a British racing car magazine called Race Car Magazine. The magazine judges the quality and frequency of what is published on social media. Our marketing department is working on this,’ Knaben says.