Orion Racing India's car at Formula Bharat 2018

Check out the best formula race car built by Indian students

© Formula Bharat

Orion Racing India won Formula Bharat 2018, a competition that awards the best race car built by Indian engineering students.

Orion Racing India's car performance at Formula Bharat
Orion Racing India's car performance at Formula Bharat

If Indian students were to build a formula-style race car, how fast do you think it would go?

The answer is 0 to 100 km/hr in under four seconds. At least that was the time registered by the car built by Orion Racing India, the team from KJ Somaiya College of Engineering, Mumbai.

Orion Racing India won Formula Bharat 2018, a competition that awards the best student-built formula-style race car in India based on static and dynamic contests. The car stood out in categories of design presentation, business plan, acceleration, endurance race, and others.

How fast does it go?

Orion Racing India’s car is comparable with commercial cars, and might even manage to hold its own in a race.

It was built with a mild steel space frame chassis, double wishbone suspension and carbon fibre bodywork. The overall weight of the car is 194kg, and it is powered by a twin-cylinder engine taken out of a Kawasaki Ninja 650 motorcycle.

The twin-cylinder engine works best for the overall weight of the car and helps keep it competitive. The engine is fuelled by Speed97 petrol, a litre of which lasts about 9.6km on track.

The Orion Racing India car on the grid at Formula Bharat
The Orion Racing India car on the grid at Formula Bharat

The car boasts an impressively flat torque curve with a peak of 56Nm (Newton meter) @7000rpm (revolutions per minute). The flatter the torque curve of a car, the quicker it is able to accelerate.

At Formula Bharat, the car was able to register a top speed of 102 km/hr on a straight and 84 km/hr during the endurance race. It also managed to cover 75 metres in less than 4.5 seconds. The Orion Racing team says the car could actually go faster and that they trimmed down the performance at Formula Bharat to preserve the car.

The car was fitted with 10-inch tyres by American manufacturing company Hoosier. The R25B 18x6 tyres are made of a softer compound and are used globally because of the impressive grip they provide.

How it compares

The Orion Racing team thinks that the car’s swiftness around corners could mean that it has a better performance than Formula LGB race cars. The car logs 1.8 lateral Gs on turns, which is a better performance index than those of cars used in formula championship races in India.

However, the team is also quick to add that when speaking about performance, it cannot be discounted that LGB cars produce much more power and are much faster down straights than their own car.

They also point out that the industry-built formula cars are more robust and reliable since they register many more kilometres over the season, something that the student-built car cannot boast of having done.

LGB cars that are prepared for races most commonly use a 1.3 litre Maruti Swift’s 16 valve MPFI engine. The car churns over 90 bhp (67 kW) and reaches a top speed of 170km/hr, which is much higher than what the Orion Racing car managed at Formula Bharat.

A Orion Racing India team member works on the engine
A Orion Racing India team member works on the engine

Striking the right formula

Formula Bharat gives Indian engineering students a chance to represent their college to build the best formula-style race car. The 2018 edition was held at Kari Motor Speedway in the last weekend of January 2018, where 74 teams participated. Of the 74 teams, 19 teams registered electric vehicles for the competition.

Many of the Indian teams competing at Formula Bharat have gone on to compete in international competitions as part of the globally renowned Formula Student competition format. An international Formula Student Electric competition is also set to launch worldwide in 2019.

Mahek Mody, one of the organisers of Formula Bharat, said that the level of competition had improved compared to previous years, especially since more cars were competing on track and fewer breakdowns occurred during competitions like the endurance race.

The 75-member team of Orion Racing India is working on developing their next combustion prototype (named Bellatrix) to compete at Formula Student East, to be held in Hungary from 18th to 22nd July 2018.