The club we are going to talk about today is a Bangalore based team that focus their energy towards building formula racing cars that are fabricated according to the standards of SAE international.
DSCE motorsports club was started in 2018 by a group of automobile enthusiasts studying in Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering. The club consists of 50 engineers of different departments who take up tasks in the sub-teams of their functioning system.
Let's understand more about the club
The club's main event is the SUPRA SAEINDIA formula race. SUPRA (super racing) SAEINDIA is a national level engineering student competition where teams design formula-style vehicles applying model-based design with MATLAB and SIMULINK products for system design and simulation, embedded code generation, and physical modelling to pose strong competition in the event. The club members work in separate departments to optimize their work and put together a potential winning result.
The members of this budding club believe that they have a long way to go, they have secured the 63rd rank in the event they participated in. It is quite the achievement considering they have only started a year ago. As they aim to reach higher ranks, they also foresee possible participation in other SAE events. Being as enthusiastic as they are, we might get to see them also modelling cars running on an electric energy source and maybe even on a hybrid system.
Interview with members of the club :
Ritik and Vignesh
HOW DID THE CLUB COME ABOUT?
[Ritik] At first a few of our seniors from college who were in third year at the time, they thought about taking part in the FSAE competition, so they were the ones who started out. They had the initial planning and invited a few other people to join the club. Then once the club came about, we had to recruit a few other people, so we had a completely full-fledged recruitment process that included a test and interview criteria to begin with and after the recruitment process we had about 50 members. So around 200 people had turned up for the recruitment process from which 50 were selected for the team.
WHAT WERE THE CHALLENGES?
[Vignesh] The problem that we faced was that, there was no prior experience with our team members and it was a new team starting out for the competition, also we had to start from scratch with many new recruits in the team and we didn't have any idea of the event and how it was going to take place as it was our first year.
For the manufacturing also we needed a lot of sponsors and so convincing the sponsors also was a great task for us because we didn't have any past achievement and we had to prove to them that we could meet the expectations.
Our college gave us workshops and some machines needed for the fabrication. We manufactured parts on our own but the machines our college gave us along with the workshop space to build the car was helpful. They also assigned us particular classroom so that we can have discussions with the team, and they gave us a few contacts of different companies whom we could approach for sponsorship.
WHAT WAS THE RESPONSE TO THE IDEA FROM FRIENDS AND FAMILY?
[Vignesh] After we fixed our plan, we pitched our idea to the college, they gave a positive response to our team as in our college there was no such teams that took part in any of the SAE event, so they gave a positive response and they liked the idea.
Then we talked to the students so that we get good people to join the team which can help us, the students response was good and I’m saying that because in the recruitment test we got more than 200 people who appeared, out of which we selected the 50 best and we had support from our friends and family too, they were very supportive and in many ways they tried to help like in getting contacts of companies which helped the team both financially and for motivation.
[Ritik] Yes, our family and friends were very happy because we’d be applying knowledge practically for building the car so yes it was a good response from them.
WHAT ARE THE PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF THE PROJECT?
[Ritik] So, the car that we built can be a stepping stone for racing aspirants because it’s more than a go-kart but not overwhelmingly big like an actual formula race car and also we try to optimise the car as much as possible and get the most desirable results out of it so that it helps in reducing pollution in the future. We can apply this knowledge in our jobs as well.
[Vignesh] The primary purpose is to take part in competitions, racing events and as Ritik said for people who are beginners and are intending to go in the racing field they can make use of the car as it's not too small nor too big so they don’t mess up things. It can act as a perfect base for them to begin their careers.
[Ritik] The structural strength of the car is very good, and we must comply by the rules set by SAE. So, we have to do all sorts of tests such as the torsional rigidity test and impact load test, by all these kinds of test we make the chassis very strong which may be used in the defence field with further development.
WHAT ARE YOUR PAST ACHIEVEMENTS?
[Vignesh] The main achievement which we consider is that we started from scratch and we didn't have any resources, now we are building cars that move on its own power and also taking part in competition, this is a very big achievement for us. Apart from that in 2019 we had taken part in the competition and out of the 180 plus teams, ours being a first-year team we were able to secure 63rd position in the event.
We overcame many problem which was there when we started making the car, we also got all the sponsors onboard by convincing them and for this year’s event that is the Supra 2020 our car was ready and better than last time’s but unfortunately due to the current situation(Covid-19 pandemic) it got cancelled so we are hoping to do better than our last event when we get the chance.
WHAT ARE YOUR FUTURE PLANS FOR THE CLUB?
[Vignesh] Our main objective is to take part in the SUPRA event which is purely of IC engines. Now since we have experience of taking part in the event we are making plans to also take part in many other events such as formula Bharat, we are not planning to completely shift but it is in our mind to take part in other events of SAE and other associations involving electric and hybrid cars. In the upcoming days, since most of our seniors would have passed out of college we will need new faces to take up positions and hence we are planning to make the team selection process of the members in a better way than what we made last year.
[Ritik] We will be looking forward to improving our rank and try to get in the top 30 or top 20 for the next year and as Vignesh said, we will try to take part in electric and hybrid events as well.
HOW DOES THE CURRENT SITUATION AFFECT THE PROGRESS OF THE CLUB AND WHAT IS YOUR SOLUTION TOWARDS IT?
[Vignesh] The pandemic affected us in a huge way, we were almost prepared for the competition and most of the work was done but then the event got cancelled due to the pandemic and most of the manufacturing process was pending, some of the work was done in the industry and half was still pending. On top of which we are unable to have discussion together in one place since we are in lockdown also we had many sponsors but then because of the situation there is no business, due to this crisis suffered by everyone it takes a little more effort to hold on to sponsors. So those are the challenges.
The things we decided to do in order to overcome the challenges for now since we can't get together in any place or have any physical access to the workshop is that - for the next year's car, to make it even better we have started planning the design and all the theory part which we can do sitting in our homes. If we finish all this now till the situation becomes normal, we can give more time for manufacturing and if we finish fast, we will get sufficient time for testing the vehicle and we can make improvements.
[Ritik] We are trying to do as much as possible, like the cad design, analysis and simulation that we can do at home and we are conducting meetings that are weekly online so that we can discuss how the progress is, and co-ordinate properly as we're going through the lockdown.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOUR WORK PROCESS/ROUTINE?
[Ritik] Everyday most of us have classes till 3 o’clock or 1 o’clock so as soon as our classes get over, we used to gather at the workshop place or at a separate classroom for the team. We have a weekly discussion that help us to co-ordinate the 6 sub teams, each of the sub teams tell what is happening and what is the progress in their work so that other departments get to know what is happening in the other sub-teams. We do this to avoid any confusion later on, this exercise takes up half an hour then we move towards our workstations.
[Vignesh] We have 6 departments that are - marketing, design, brakes and wheels, power transmission, steering and suspension. So, marketing team does all the reports work of what is going on for the event like we have to show the cost analysis like how much money was spent on the vehicle and such things, the main responsibility of the marketing team is that they tried to bring in sponsors and give business presentations when we have meetings with the sponsors. The power transmission team concentrates on the engine and the different parts which is involved in transmitting the power from the engine to the wheels. Then we have the brakes and wheels who as the name suggests deals with the breaks and wheels attachment, similarly we have the suspension and steering team. The vehicle design team is primarily responsible for designing the chassis of the vehicle and conducting all the tests to make sure it is strong also while complying with the SAE rules. One thing I would like to tell is that, we may work in different departments, but we finally come together and work as a single unit.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR TEAM MEMBERS AND THE STRUCTURE.
[Ritik] It is a very good experience as you get to meet a lot of people who share the same idea as you do and as you’ve probably guessed, everyone is a car enthusiast and we all love building the car together. You also get to know people from different departments like electrical, aerospace engineering, etc who come together and work on the project. So, all in all it’s a good experience to work with the team.
[Vignesh] So, even though everyone is focused there must be a leader to make sure that nothing goes wrong. So, our team first has a faculty advisor who is a lecturer in the college and guides us through the project, then we have the captain and vice-captain. The captain mainly looks into the teams working and ensures that there is coordination between all the sub-systems of the team and the vice-captain has similar responsibilities. For each department, we have department heads and so if there is any work related to their department they look after it and assign different roles for the rest of the team members in each of the sub-teams.
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF JustDeets BEING A PLATFORM TO PRESENT CLUBS SUCH AS YOURS?
[Ritik] Definitely it is very helpful for us, we are glad that JustDeets is helping us out with showcasing our club and we can surely use this article to educate our sponsors about us. The marketing team can use it to pitch their ideas and we can show that our team has a good reach and people can also get to know about the team when they visit the website, so that'll be helpful for us.
[Vignesh] First I would like to thank JustDeets for giving us a chance to post or content in the website and the main thing is that we can give reference to the sponsors through this website so that it will be easier for them to understand what we are doing. It is a good way to show our legitimacy and also make them aware of the importance of the competition, also the people who are not necessarily coming to read about our project on the platform will get a chance to see our content and that will improve our reach to others. If we want to show what we're doing, what we are striving for, then there is this platform that we can tell people to go and check out.