Founded in 2005, Grandelfino is a student racing team based at Japan’s Kyoto Institute of Technology (KIT). We design and manufacture Formula SAE (FSAE) cars with single cylinder engines, from start to finish. In the process, we also work to procure needed parts and sponsorships for growing our team management and technology skills.
From the beginning, our design concept has focused on "small and lightweight,” and it’s served us well: We’ve finished first overall in Formula Student competitions in Japan three times — first in 2012, and then with consecutive victories in 2016 and 2017. With each win, we’ve gained greater recognition that has allowed us to grow stronger.
Student Formula Japan is just one of the Formula SAE competitions hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The initial competition was held in 2003 and drew 17 teams. Its size and popularity have grown year by year and, in 2017, 115 teams — including 17 electric vehicle-class teams and 22 teams from Asian countries outside of Japan — applied for entry.
Our Grandelfino team embraced "Fast Lightweight Cars" as our 2017 vehicle concept. We focused our design on achieving weight reduction across the whole car, creating more effective aerodynamic parts and improving the output of the powertrain system.
We used ANSYS computational fluid dynamic (CFD) simulation software to analyze our cars’ intake systems and their aerodynamics. In 2016, we added aerodynamic parts, including front and rear wings. We found that the parts were heavy and had drawbacks, such as mounting positions offset from the center of the car body. To make the car more efficient, we developed a diffuser to extract the air under the machine.
In addition, we analyzed two intake models — an overhead and a side intake system. We used simulation to compare the mass flow rate and the flow in the tank for both models. In the end, we chose the side system, which lowered the car’s center of gravity and raised the air intake efficiency.