The Autodromo Riccardo Paletti is ready and raring to transform itself once again into an open-air technological laboratory. From the 14th to the 18th of July 2021, the race track will host the next edition of Formula SAE Italy, an event that brings together teams from dozens of universities from across the world and gives thousands of engineering students the chance to put their skills to the test in a bid to secure a career in the automotive industry.
The hope is that COVID-19 won’t prevent the competition from returning to the track itself, where the event traditionally takes place. Due to the pandemic, the ANFIA (Italian Association of the Automotive Industry) was indeed forced to cancel the 2020 edition, however universities and students were fortunately able to compete through several specially designed digital initiatives in November. After all, the spirit of Formula SAE Italy goes far beyond the simple notion of competition, driven by a genuine educational purpose.
Founded in 2005, Formula SAE Italy has been held at the “Autodromo di Varano” race track in Parma since 2009: the ideal venue due to its prime location in the heart of the Motor Valley, where the very best of Italy’s motor companies and manufacturers are concentrated. The only exception, of course, was last year. To appreciate the scale and importance of the event, you only have to look back at the 2019 edition, which welcomed 86 competing teams from 79 different universities, involving more than 2600 students and representing 26 countries, including India and Israel. The enrolment process for the 2021 edition closed on 11 March, with 63 institutions from 21 countries signed up: a respectable list, considering that the coronavirus restrictions (in terms of travel, for example) have not yet been lifted.
The event will be structured into two parts: a static section (presentation of design, business model and cost analysis) and a dynamic section during which each car will be test driven and subjected to a 22 km endurance test. The tournament will be split into four categories - class 3, 1D, 1E and 1C – and will also include Formula Electric Italy, dedicated to electric vehicles, and Formula Driverless, introduced in 2018 to explore the potential of autonomous driving, one of the key areas of development for the future of mobility.