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Formula Student vs. 918 Spyder: Unequal acceleration duel

Achim Hartmann
Formula Student vs. Porsche 918 Spyder
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F tears of remorse flowing over the temples horizontally towards the headrest. Shirt sleeves that slide over the elbows up to the shoulder. Or even cheeks that are almost turned upside down by the acceleration: the flowery test driver prose knows hardly any limits when it comes to describing the force of the longitudinal dynamics.

The Porsche 918 has been sitting since last year on the sprinter Olympus. 2.6 seconds - that's the best zero-to-one hundred value that auto motor und sport has ever measured. Even a wild rallycross machine like Mattias Ekström's Audi S1, which was victorious in the World Championship, four-wheel drive and almost 600 hp, could only shake the throne of the Porsche a little. Much to his chagrin, the DTM star from Sweden was two tenths short of the record.

Porsche 918 Spyder previous sprint king

But now, on a sunny September day, the twilight of the gods is approaching for high-tech - Top dog from Zuffenhausen. The challenger was brought up by his fathers and mothers, an extremely motivated group of students from the University of Stuttgart, in an unadorned trailer for a duel at the Black Forest airfield in Lahr. Under the tarpaulin: your baby, the formula student monoposto with the somewhat bulky designation E0711-5. The 0711 is the area code for Stuttgart, and, you guessed it, the E stands for electropower.

Five men are enough to unload the filigree e-racer, and they don't even have to work hard: the E0711-5 weighs only 165 kilos. 38 of these are used by the battery of the e-racer: The 284 lithium polymer cells (“Lipo” for short) from Chinese production at a unit price of twelve euros were bought by the studios of the Stuttgart team ( www.greenteam-stuttgart.de ) quality-tested, wired, soldered and screwed together. The battery capacity is 6.62 kilowatt hours (kWh). 'That is easily enough for a few dozen attempts to accelerate,' says Dusko Mitrovic, one of the electronics specialists in the student team. For comparison: the lithium-ion battery in the hybrid Porsche can store 6.8 kWh, but weighs an impressive 138 kilograms - proof of how rapidly battery technology is advancing.

Another comparison with the one from Zuffenhausen native superstar of German engineering: 'Look at this crazy paint job,' saysPorsche works driver Marc Lieb, who of course drove to Lahr in the 918. 'Liquid metal. But it cost an extra charge. ”47,600 euros to be precise. So a little more than the Formula Student can cost according to the regulations. The whole car, of course.

Take a seat in the Formula Student

Although the mini-racer at first glance hardly looks bigger than a soap box, even guys with guard dimensions have it quite comfortably in the carbon fiber monocoque, thanks to the adjustable pedals. In the case of the Formula Student, however, the term seat position would be misleading: I'm almost lying in the small e-racer. The helmet snuggles up to the headrest attached to the roll bar. It will soon become clear how important and pleasant this is.

Only the tiny CFRP steering wheel, which I made myself, is a little too close to my thighs. It doesn't matter, today, as in the Formula Student competitions, it's not about fast cornering, but exclusively about bolting straight ahead. The mini display is well in the driver's field of vision. It provides information about the voltage in the low-voltage and high-voltage range. The four e-machines in the format of a tin can live on the wheel hubs. They work with an operating voltage of 600 volts. The spring-damper units of the push-rod front suspension are enthroned on top of the cockpit tube. They are hardly bigger than on a mountain bike, and the rider can watch the Liliput springs and the pencil-thin struts of the wheel suspension work.

Computer calculates the optimal distribution of the e-power

The brain of the e-racer is the control unit:' Speed ​​sensors on all four wheels, an optical sensor for the float angle and yaw rate sensors on the front and on the Rear axle ”, the students rattle off. The computer uses these parameters to calculate the optimal distribution of the electric power to the wheels. The functional principle has to be imagined similar to that of the ESP in production cars, say the young engineers. “You can only turn around with our car if we want to,” summarizes Dusko, who is working as a racing engineer for me that day. Always with the opened laptop in his arms, just like the guys in the really big professional motorsport.

After so much theory, things are finally getting serious: first training for the big 0-to-100-km /h-duel with the Porsche 918. It's easy for the driver: first pull the main switch, then press the button labeled PTM. 'Power to motor' is now released - as long as you stand nicely on the brake with your left foot.

1,200 Nm report on duty

And now: full throttle! The formula student becomes a boom. Within nanoseconds, 1,200 Newton meters of torque report to theService. The little one shoots so furiously towards the horizon that eloquent authors have great difficulty putting this feeling into words. An association with an old circus act comes to mind. It was called: The human cannonball. An apparently crazy artist let himself be shot across the ring. As if by a miracle, he apparently survived this feat.

I roll back to the start - and I can't help it: I almost laugh myself a branch. Apparently, strong g-forces in the longitudinal direction trigger great serenity. Is it infantile euphoria? Did a horse just kick me? Or am I already surrounded by madness? The strange driving noise would match: The E0711-5 sounds like a mixture of food processor and Carrera racetrack.

Works driver Marc Lieb is also having a great time. He shows me a video from the start on his iPhone: “You slide up diagonally,” he grins, “at least five or ten centimeters. Really funny. ”I think of my frequent visits to the physiotherapist and wonder whether the grim acceleration has a positive effect on my somewhat disoriented cervical vertebrae. In any case, it is recommended to lean the helmet against the headrest. Otherwise whiplash could easily occur without an accident. After a few tries, my best is 2.26 seconds. In other words: a distance of only 31.93 meters is enough for the little one to cannon at 100 km /h. Unbelievable.

World record for Stuttgart

But it can be even better: In July, the Stuttgart-based company made an incredible 1,779 Seconds set a new world record for non-dragsters. Lothar Bloschies, the team's press man, explains the time difference: “Firstly, our record driver Prisca only weighs half as much as you. And secondly, we drove in the record without the huge rear wing.”

Regardless, for victory It's enough against the 918: Although the almost one million euro over-Porsche from works driver Lieb with 887 hp is more muscled than almost any other road car, in the supreme discipline of car freaks, the 0-to-100 Sprint, no chance of the gold medal. With 2.55 seconds, Lieb was even slightly below the factory specification of 2.6 seconds. But in a direct duel, he doesn't see a country: the first meters are decisive. The little one literally jumps out of the starting blocks. To get to 50 km /h, 7.04 meters are enough. The 918 needs almost two meters more for this. The driving effort is extremely low in both cars: In principle, it is sufficient to press a few buttons and firmly step on the brush. The electronics do the rest, in a truly inspiring way.

Return journey in the 918: North of Freiburg, the A 5 delights us with extremely little traffic. Now the big hour strikes for the 918: full throttle for a short while, 320 km /h is already on theDigital display. The E0711-5 has to travel home on the trailer at a tranquil 80 km /h.

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