College students’ car-nama

With potholes the size of ponds, Mumbai may not be the ideal place to test racing cars, but students of KJ Somaiya College of Engineering have a novel plan rolling. They recently unveiled The Arion, a single-seater Formula One-style racecar, manufactured from scratch by a team of 60 enthusiastic undergraduate engineers.

Ask them where they took their mean machine for a test drive and 22-year-old final year engineering student, Rehan Netarwala, says, “We took permission from BEST and tried it at the depot in Sion. It’s the best place we could ask for.”

This is the sixth year that the students have managed to design a fast car that will be showcased in August at the international Formula SAE Competition, one of the world’s largest engineering design competitions, held in Germany.

Their car will compete with those made by students from 80 engineering colleges from 44 countries. The criteria ranges from marketability and acceleration to fuel economy and more. Keeping up with college lectures and making time for this student-run annual project was no easy task. “After our 9 am to 5 pm classroom schedule, we spent hours working on the car.

Some of us even got sleeping bags to the workshop. Every year, we learn from the previous year’s mistakes and make improvements,” adds the mechanical engineering student. The automobile enthusiasts turned to Greek mythology to call it The Arion, which is a swift, divinely bred, immortal horse.

Made at a whopping cost of Rs 17 lakhs, all collected by the students, ask them about the innovations this year and Rehan eagerly adds, “We have used a lot of carbon fibre to make it lightweight and thus faster. We started work in August last year and completed it by March, so we have had a good trial run and can’t wait to show it in Germany.”
 

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