Once a year the Hockenheim circuit is devoted to single-seater racers of the build-it-yourself kind. In the Formula Student Germany design competition, university teams form all over the world compete against each other with cars they have designed and built themselves. Among them is Bernd Fuchsschwanz, a student from MTU who’s study mechanical engineering at the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University in Ravensburg who is specializing in production systems.
The weather is hot and sunny. In the pit lane teams are furiously fixing, tinkering and discussing while the first of the cars demonstrate their handling on the skid pad, the figure-of-eight track. At the end of July and the beginning of August, 111 university teams from all over the world battle it out on the Hockenheimring aiming to convince the judges of the qualities of their internal-combustion engined or electric-powered racing steeds. But speed alone is not enough in this competition. The single-seater racers with top speeds of up to 160 kph also have to score highly in terms of handling, fuel consumption, design cost and marketing. MTU is the main sponsor of the international event and supports several teams.
From Formula Student to career
Bernd Fuchsschwanz and his colleagues from the Global Formula Racing Team have been developing, designing and building their entry for this competition for almost a year. As part of a cooperative project spanning two continents between students of the Baden-Württemberg Cooperative State University and the Oregon State University, the team has built two racing cars – one with an internal-combustion engine and one with an electric motor. "For us in Europe, Formula Student Germany marks the start of the racing season. This is when we find out if we have done our jobs well or overlooked important details," relates Bernd Fuchsschwanz, a member of the team who won in the Formula Student Combustion category three years in a row, the section for internal-combustion engine cars. The 22-year-old mechanical engineering student is responsible for supply chain management within the Global Formula Racing Team. That means he makes sure that the necessary components are produced, and available in the right place at the right time. "Our team is like a small business. Everyone has their own job that they are personally responsible for managing. For me, the time with the team was invaluable because I learned about so many aspects, discovered my strengths, and where I would like to go in my career," outlines Fuchsschwanz, who is shortly set to graduate with a bachelor's degree and start work at MTU as a production planner.
Next generation of technicians for MTU
Fuchsschwanz is one of the 88 young people in dual study placements at MTU in the development, design, analysis, manufacturing and production departments. "We invest a lot in the education of young people who have an interest in technology. Because only by employing the best engineers and technical specialists will we be able to continue offering our customers top-quality products. By taking part in projects such as Formula Student the young people gain experience that is valuable not only to themselves but also to us as a business," explains Martin Stocker, who is responsible for vocational training and the dual study courses. As well as the dual-study interns, MTU is currently training another 275 young men and women in technical careers at 14 different locations. To encourage more young people to follow a career in technology, MTU is involved in other projects apart from Formula Student, such as Young Researchers and the Girls' Day.
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