Formula Student is an engineering competition between various universities throughout the world. The objective is to independently design, build, test a formula racing car and to then compete against other teams in events throughout Europe, the US and Australia. The vehicles are not only evaluated based on the time achieved on the race track, but are also analyzed by experts from industry and motor sports. Students are expected to defend their specific solutions against other options and proposals. Another important role is played by the vehicle's fuel efficiency, the ability to manage finances and economic feasibility.
AMZ has joined this competition since 2007 as the sole Swiss team, and has since then developed a new racing car each year, which learns from the mistakes on the predecessors and always contributes new innovations. In 2008, the first monocoque was developed under the "maloja" name, which replaced the steel-tube frame of the "albula" vehicle. In 2009 further weight improvements were made to the design and a bio-ethanol carburetor conversion was used – "simplon".
In 2010, "furka", made a major leap toward electrical drive-trains – which ultimately emulates the current trend in the automobile industry. This concept was finally optimized in 2011 with the "novena" model, creating the most successful automobile of the AMZ (Academic Motorsports-Club Zurich) – ranked second world-wide. Under the slogan "Evolution. Revolution.", "umbrail" was developed as an automobile which in part represents improvements over the prior year solution, but also has completely new innovations in other areas. For instance, the automobile is equipped with a complete aerodynamics package consisting of rear-wing, front-wing and a floor cover. The empty vehicle weighs 166kg and is rated at 80kW; "umbrail" accelerates from 0 to 100km/h in 3.2 seconds.
In addition to the independent wheel suspension, the racing car also uses a so-called stabilizer as part of its suspension. The stabilizer connects the left and right hand suspensions and can therefore help reduce the body-roll in a curve. Instead of using bronze bushings, this year, the suspension uses iglidur® Q plain bearings, which are significantly lighter while also holding up to all loads. They are also corrosion-free and completely weather-proof - a huge improvement over last year.