Designing a dream

BY ARTI DAS | NT NETWORK

As boys grow up, their fascination for racing cars never dies out. It is a fad that they grow up with. Not everyone gets a chance to be associated at a deeper level with this dream machine. But, there are some who are so passionate about it that they work hard towards this dream.

One such person is Tahir Sousa, a young Goan student from Vasco who is the member of DRIFT racing team and has also made the racing car, DR211 which resulted in their team winning the first prize in the Cost Report and Presentation event, ‘Formula SAE Australasia 2010’ at Melbourne, Australia.

Drift Racing Team is the only second Indian team to win an International Formula SAE event and is the First Indian team to win in its very first edition. Earlier, the Drift Racing Team was the second overall runners-up and the winner of the ‘Best Design’ award at the FSAE India Design Challenge 2009.

Tahir who is currently pursuing his Bachelor of Technology degree in Electronics and Communication Engineering at NIT Jamshedpur was part of the 14-member student team who represented India in this category and won the first prize for the very first time in 30 years.

“This is for the first time that an Indian team has won in this category.

Formula SAE is a student design event conducted by the Society of Automotive Engineers International (SAE) which started 30 years ago” says Tahir.

Tahir who did his basic schooling in Goa stated that designing a formula car was his passion and he was more than thrilled when he got this opportunity.

“I got this chance when I was in my first year. It took us around one and half year to design this car. Being an electronic engineer, my responsibility was to develop the software and make it practical in every sense. The best part of our project was that, we gave all the details of the car right from its soft wares to the nuts and bolts. We made a 250-page report on the same” explains Tahir.

The event was judged by top engineers and executives from international automobile companies. The blueprint of this car is also considered as the most economical car design.

The interesting fact of this project is that it is not part of their curriculum. “This is the output of the passion we have for formula cars. All 14 of us are from different streams of engineering, which actually helped us to design the automobile more practically. As it was not part of our academics we had to hunt for sponsors. Luckily, we got sponsors like Tata Steel who were quite impressed with our machine. The chairperson of Tata Group, Mr Ratan Tata even paid a visit to our center to see our car,” elaborates Tahir.

The total cost of this project came to around to Rs 24 lakh. “The major cost involved was in the shipping cost. Also due to our restrained budget we could only take part in the static event and not in dynamic events,” elaborates Tahir.

After the success at Australia, Drift Racing Team has now already qualified for the World Finals of Formula Student UK to be held at F1 Silverstone circuit in July 2011. Here around 168 teams from 36 countries from the five continents will be participating.

Now they are in the process of modifying it and are also planning to patent their design. “Each year we get a new batch of students to work on this design as we need to modify to meet contemporary needs. Thus, my job is to train these young students. Also I have to juggle between my studies and this project. But, I am more excited about our formula car as these competitions give us recognition and expand our career prospects” says Tahir on a parting note.