Ashwa Racing is India’s premier Formula SAE (FSAE) team. The FSAE event is one in which SAE student members conceive, design, fabricate and compete with other similar formula-style student racing cars in a race organized by SAE in a different country every year.


Ashwa Racing was founded in 2003 by Arun Raj and others. He was then a student in the department of mechanical engineering, RVCE. Arun Raj aims to usher in motorsport education and establish an industry-institute partnership with industries supporting the car project by the students.

Ashwa Racing has been participating in the FSAE competition since 2005 when their first formula race car was ready. The students did the 2005 and 2006 competition in Australia, 2007 and ’08 in Germany and 2009 and ’10 in Italy. The 2011 competition is in Italy again this September.

R S Kulkarni who advises the team says: “The team is the number one formula racing university team in the country. It competes with teams from US and Europe who have vast financial and other resources at their disposal. We have to work with what we can afford. They are also competing against teams which have more than two decades experience in automotive racing. Yet the team has bagged the best Asian team award and is in the top rankings.”

 “We design, fabricate, assemble and test the car ourselves. We purchase parts from automotive companies and put them together. While we make certain parts ourselves, critical components are manufactured by companies. But the look, design, integration and aerodynamics of the car is entirely ours” say the team members.

The car which takes eight to ten months to be assembled and integrated runs on an imported Hondaengine. The engine is taken from a crashed bike as it is inexpensive. The body of the car is made of glass fibre and the chassis is of chromium material. The 600 cc car can do a speed of 100 km/hr and a little more.

The design and making of the car costs around Rs 15-16 lakh, but if transport of the car to the competition by air and back by ship including costs of taking the team abroad for the competition, their stay, competition fee and return is accounted for, the budget for Ashwa Racing is Rs 30-35 lakh.

A full team of 40 students designs and builds the car, while the core team will be 13 to 15 students.

“Once the car is ready, our core team will leave for Italy. We have around five drivers who do different number of laps at the competition. We also have back-up drivers. Completing the race incident-free is an achievement. We have always done that. We compete with around 60 to 70 teams every year,”

The students have planned to commercialize the car and are in talks with industry. “It can be used as a hobby formula race car by anyone and can be used on a go-karting track. We want to build a commercial student racing car that families, colleges and schools can buy. We also plan to apply for a patent,” says Chhapia.

Innovation: Student formula racing car

How it works: The car does actual student formula racing in the SAE competitions worldwide and has been doing so since 2005

Utility: The car demonstrates ability of students to make a car on their own that can be used in student formula racing worldwide and hobby formula racing

Cost: Rs 15-16 lakh

Team: R S Kulkarni and members of the Ashwa Racing team


* Ashwa Racing is India’s premier FSAE team founded in 2003. It is a student project team from the RV College of Engineering, Bangalore

* The name Ashwa in Sanskrit means stallion and hence the name chosen for the team

* The car model name was earlier RVIANZ, to commemorate student life at RVCE. Later, it was shortened to RZ

* The FSAE competition is one where SAE student members conceive, design, fabricate and compete with other similar formula-style racing cars. The event is held in USA, UK, Australia, Germany, Italy, Brazil, Russia and Japan. The events draw university teams from around the world

* The aim of Formula SAE is to develop students’ ability to analyze and handle real life automotive engineering situations

* The team’s last prototype, RZ X, successfully completed the Formula ATA Italy event in 2010 winning The Best Asian Team award and was one of the few cars which cleared scrutineering in the first attempt and got the inspection stickers. RVCE stood 7th in the cost event and did exceptionally well in the dynamic events too

Source: Times of India

To visit the team website click here

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