Road Arrow is the first Serbian Formula Student team, whose members are students from the University of Belgrade,
that makes a new vehicle every year, representing the University and country
at the most prestigious world engineering competition.
THE PATH OF ROAD ARROW
Students from the University of Belgrade founded the first Formula Student team in November of 2010 under the name Road Arrow. Eleven students from the faculties of Mechanical Engineering and Organizational Sciences worked for months on the vehicle concept during the first season, year 2011. They took part in the most prestigious competition in the UK at the legendary Silverstone track, competing in Class II (preliminary design of the vehicle without assembly). We came in 3rd in this competition.
In the 2012 season, the Road Arrow team decided to compete in Class I, against some of the world’s strongest teams, in the competitions in Italy and Great Britain. Directors from world renown companies such as Airbus and Mercedes-Benz have personally visited our team’s box. They were impressed with the fact that a small team from Serbia managed to create a competitive vehicle from a conceptual design, practically without any prior competitive experience.
In the 2013 season, the design and manufacture of the vehicle was raised to a new level. For the first time students from the Faculty of transport and traffic engineering joined the team. We took part in 3 competitions – Czech Republic, Hungary and Italy, where we achieved our best result to date, an amazing 10th place in the general standings from 43 University teams from the entire world.
New innovations were presented in the 2014 season, the most innovative being the variable intake manifold. In the same year, the cars aerodynamics were designed and implemented through a new aero package. Students from the School of Electrical Engineering started the development of telemetry for the vehicle. The team first took part in competition in Austria at the Red Bull Ring. In the second competition, at the Autodromo Riccardo Paletti, the team came 15th out of 44 University teams.
The 2015 season was one of the most successful for our team. The new aero package was greatly improved and tested in the wind tunnel for the first time, and the team got new members from the Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy. Road Arrow 2015 was presented to the European audience in the competition in Czech Republic, at the Autodromo Most, where the team took a fantastic 4th place in the endurance race – the most demanding discipline. Finally, the team took 9th place in general standings, which gave the team the title of the best team in the region.
During the 2016 season development of the implemented circuits and systems continued and usage of carbon fiber material for parts manufacturing started, in order to reduce vehicle’s mass. Beside many improvements on the vehicle, project also refined regarding business plan and branding thanks to the students from the faculties of Economics and Applied Arts that joined the team. In that year the team traveled to Italy, Czech Republic and Hungary, and from these competition 14th place out of 39 teams at Autodromo Riccardo Paletti stands out. Also, in the same season, the design concept of an electric vehicle was made, and that led to wining the 3rd place in competition in Italy.
Season 2017 brought many changes regarding organization and project managing. The team for testing and synthesis of new materials was founded. Development of the concept of an electric vehicle continued. Students from the Military Academy, faculties of Physics and Forestry joined. The vehicle was made in the record term, with all improvements compared to the last year. Qualifying for the most prestigious competition in Europe, that is held at the Formula 1 circuit, in Hockenheim (Germany) and that gathers best teams from all over the world, represents great success. In that season team recorded exceptional results in static disciplines, like 4th place for Cost Report and 10th place at Design Event out of 50 teams in Italy.
Road Arrow is a great opportunity for students to apply the theoretical knowledge gained during studies, however it is common for the project to require students to have a much better understanding of specific topics. Therefore, members of our team learn a lot more during a season than during their regular course of study, as well as how to think outside the box, to find a solution without any guidance, take the initiative and stand behind their decisions. They also have the opportunity to learn from students who have been working on this project for years and have gained expertise in various fields, but they are also expected to take responsibility, to carry out tasks on time and in addition to solving engineering problems, develop skills in team work and working with people from different professions.
Six racecars, 15 competitions, over 1000 parts designed, manufactured and obtained every year… All of this was achieved by 200 students who have been part of this team and over 50000 man-hours invested into making Road Arrow what it is. Countless obstacles, constraints and problems that students have to face from the start to the end of the season and the success that was achieved after all this, you can say that enthusiasm is the foundation of this project.
Road Arrow is more than a team. A group of students connected by a common goal, going through good and bad moments, functioning much like a large family. The best proof of this is the constant support from alumni members, but also the atmosphere within the team. After a year of teamwork, despite all efforts, team members still, even more so than in the beginning, love what they do and enjoy it, so the love for the project and team continues to be an important cohesive factor that combines the car into that perfect assembly which is much more than just its parts.