Racing sponsorship puts young people in the driving seat

31st May 2017
Alice Matthews

The TUfast Racing Team from Technical University Munich (TU Munich) will be sponsored by Panasonic Automotive & Industrial Systems in the Formula SAE/Formula Student racing competition for the second consecutive year. The TUfast Racing Team uses Panasonic’s product portfolio including Soft Pyrolytic Graphite Sheet (SoftPGS) which is a Thermal Interface Material (TIM), the Grid-EYE infrared array thermal sensor, as well as different passive components such as resistors and capacitors.

“We are proud to be supporting the TUfast Racing Team with some of our most innovative automotive products and especially with our know-how and experience in this field,” said Matthias Frey, Section Head, Communication at Panasonic. “It is fascinating to be closely involved with these young talented people as they evolve and develop concepts, and finally design their racing cars. We wish the E-Technology team and their eb017 the very best of luck and hope that they can repeat their 2016 success and top ranking!”

Formula SAE/Formula Student challenges student teams from different universities to compete against each other in professionally organised competitions in their own self-built and developed racing cars. The competition is not only about which team builds the fastest car, but also the best overall package of performance, engineering design, cost and presentation. The competitions take place annually with the same rules and regulations worldwide, allowing every team to take part anywhere.

Panasonic not only provides financial assistance to help the TUfast student team plan, design, and build their formula race cars, its sponsorship also encompasses motorsport components and software, while expert advice and help from Panasonic application engineers completes the support package. SoftPGS, which has very high thermal conductivity, is used for effective cooling of the inverters in the race cars. Once connected under compression, the graphite will not flow, shrink, or degrade since graphite is crystalline carbon, the same element as diamonds. The crystal structure backbone is also the thermal highway of the graphite foil with high through plane thermal conductivity.

Two recently introduced series of Panasonic DC-Link capacitors initially developed for the automotive segment were also selected for the race cars due to their key technological advantages. Mainly targeted at the power inverter and switching power supply markets, the EZPQ and EZPE Series DC-Link capacitors use Panasonic’s patterned metallisation technology. This technology delivers long-term reliability as well as fail-safe functioning for demanding automotive applications.

To measure the temperature of their tyres, the TUfast Racing Team uses the Grid-EYE infrared array thermal sensor. Grid-EYE features 64 thermopile elements in an 8x8 grid format and detects absolute surface temperature without any contact. By using this small sensor for their tyre temperature measurement, the team can ensure the best use of their tyres for the race.

Max Burggraf, TU Munich’s TUfast Racing Team Manager, commented: “Without the sponsorship of companies like Panasonic a project like our TUfast Racing Team wouldn’t be possible. The company provides us with some of its most innovative products, like the thermal management solution SoftPGS, temperature sensor Grid-EYE and its excellent passive components solutions. All of these products are very well suited to our new race car and we are very grateful for Panasonic’s outstanding technical support.”

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