An incredible season: the university team made its way to the elite of the Formula Student

The Arrabona Racing Team finished the season with a dream come true: the student team of Széchenyi István University did not lose its great form after the successes achieved both in Austria and Hungary, as it finished on the podium in Germany as well, at the most prestigious race of the season. The team based in Győr, together with the SZEngine engine development team, delivered a balanced performance from the beginning to the end and repeatedly overtook top German teams to confirm their position with the elite of the Formula Student series. All this indicates that besides its tangible values in the labour market, the practical-oriented education provided at Széchenyi István University also leads to outstanding results at an international level.

The Arrabona Racing Team was unbeatable on the podium this summer; a second place in Austria was followed by a bronze medal at the Hungaroring, and then the season was crowned by another second place overall in Germany. For those unfamiliar with the world of Formula Student and the balance of power in that field, an analogy from the world of tennis might help to explain the significance of this feat: to be on the podium at the three most prestigious tournaments of the season is like completing the Grand Slam, a rare, outstanding and impressive achievement.

In technical sports, especially in motorsport, it is extremely difficult to stay in top form over several races since team members become more exhausted, cars wear out, and weather conditions change – not to mention the luck factor. The Arrabona Racing Team and the SZEngine engine development team’s sensational results should be appreciated due to the fact that they were achieved in three consecutive races in the span of one month.

 

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The moments of celebration: the Arrabona Racing Team came second overall in Formula Student Germany (Photo: FSG Media)

 

What is behind all these excellent results? We asked ART team leader Máté Kapocsi about the secret of this year's success.

"Having a fast and reliable car is obviously the key to a good performance. Never before have we been able to finish three races in a row in the endurance discipline, during which the car has to complete 22 kilometres in time without a fault. It's the hardest discipline; so no wonder most of our rivals suffer a major defeat at this stage. We're very happy that we managed to do it right every time," explained the team manager, who also told us about what makes the car so highly reliable.

"ART_09 is an improved, refined version of our last year's model. In this racing season, we corrected the childhood diseases and testing a lot helped reduce the number of breakdowns. Although we did have some problems with the cooling system, as it could be seen during the Hungarian race, fortunately, it did not cause a major problem."

Compared to the previous season, the team’s performance showed a significant improvement in both static and dynamic disciplines. On the Hungaroring, they qualified for the finals in the engineering design discipline where they presented the car's technical design, and based on the jury’s decision in the German race, they were among the best ones in the cost event, where they presented the car's budget. Though they also scored well in the acceleration and skid pad categories, the car was primarily prepared for the long-distance endurance event - so they were almost invincible with the excellent performance of the drivers and the well-organised teamwork of the members.

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Beaten: during the endurance race most of the field were just watching the back of the ART car (Photo: FSG Media)

 

"Compared to the last races, the top field hasn't changed either in Germany, besides the two big players - the Rennteam from Stuttgart and the Rennstall from Esslingen - our biggest opponents were KA Racing from Karlsruhe, Hawsk Racing from Hamburg and the University of Valencia," said Máté Kapocsi.

"We still have a lot to improve, but this summer has shown that we can compete with the best teams. There are ups and downs in the life of every team, for us this meant we got a break on the positive side that we need to appreciate. I wouldn't say that we should expect similar results from the team in the future, but if we manage to avoid bad luck, we could still be around the top," said the team manager with cautious expectations but confidence.

 

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The collaboration between the Arrabona Racing Team and the SZEngine engine development team has resulted in a great summer season this year (Photo: FSG Media)

 

Undoubtedly, 2022 is a milestone for the Arrabona Racing Team. Since its formation in 2014 this has been the most successful season for the Győr-based team, a level that they only have come close to in the past. For many young engineering students, achieving similar results has been just a dream, but now it has turned into reality. A couple of years ago they even failed to register for the German competition, and now they finished second in the internal combustion engine category. The team from Győr has caught up with the elite of Formula Student at an amazing pace.

Team leader Máté Kapocsi emphasized that none of this would have been possible without the support of the university and sponsors.

"I would like to thank the University's management and sponsors - especially Audi Hungária Zrt - for their support, since the excellent conditions we have created with their help are the basis for our success. We have two well-equipped workshops on campus, our sponsors are always there for us and the project-based philosophy taught at the training courses provides the right background for the next generations," said the team leader.

 

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Photos of the German race (Photos: FSG Media)

 

Replacement is a real key issue as the team's personnel is being renewed and the majority of the operational core are going to be replaced during the autumn. Such a rate of fluctuation is absolutely natural in the case of student engineering teams since many continue in the world of work - after some mandatory rest following the gruelling summer competitions. One of them is Patrik Szuvák, who will also be leaving the team in a few months.

"I couldn't have wished for a better last season. Every metre the car covered and every second of the static events was pure joy for me. I'm proud of this year’s performance of our teams and I really hope that during next season, already as an alumnus, I can support the future team to be at least as successful as ours was during this season," summarised the departing member of the SZEngine engine development team.

Maximilian Deák, the team's construction manager, added that his team has been working for the past year to build a stronger and more reliable engine based on the experience gained over the last season. As a result in all the three races during the season they have achieved podium finishes in the efficiency (energy efficiency) category in collaboration with ART, which means that the power, reliability and fuel efficiency of the engine has proven to be excellent.

"Thanks to a lot of testing, we were able to solve the problems that arose and ultimately create an engine that has contributed greatly to our success this year. I would like to take this opportunity to thank our sponsors, supporters, alumni for their enthusiastic support and, last but not least, the whole team for their perseverance and tireless work," he said.

 

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Arrabona Racing Team's car is powered by the SZEngine-22 engine, which proved to be one of the most efficient engines in the internal combustion category three times in this year's Formula Student season (Photo: SZEngine)

 

Dr Bálint Filep, President of Széchenyi István University, congratulated the students and drew attention to the fact that the participants in the teams have gained both unforgettable experiences and extremely valuable knowledge and experience for the labour market.

"The excellent results at European level show both the high quality of our practice-oriented, project-based training and the quality of our talent management, a plus in a key sector such as the automotive industry," emphasized Dr Bálint Filep.

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