Forze releases Forze VIII and announces BWT as main sponsor

Student Race Team Forze Hydrogen Electric Racing from the Delft University of Technology partners with F1 team sponsor BWT

During the Nürburgring 24H race event, Forze announced its new main sponsor BWT Best Water Technology. Additionally, the student team presented its newest generation hydrogen racer: the Forze VIII, completely in the distinctive pink, magenta and silver livery of its new sponsor.

 

The student team of 45 members strong has been waiting with much anticipation for this moment. The Forze VIII was revealed with much excitement due to the fact that the team is working with such a major player in the market for water technologies. As well as an F1 race team, the company can now boast of sponsoring a clean energy hydrogen racer on its roster. This signifies the first step towards hydrogen racing for BWT.

Gijs Vermeij, team leader of Forze: “We are ecstatic and proud about this new collaboration. For a student team to be working with such a prominent multinational as main sponsor is a big step for the team and for hydrogen in the racing world.”

After more than two years of successful collaboration with PitPoint clean fuels as main sponsor, it is time for the team to grow further, which will be enabled by partnering with BWT. PitPoint will remain closely involved with the team as sponsor to support this growth further.

Forze VIII                                                                      

During the presentation, the sustainable racer looks ready to race, but before that can happen, more tests and updates to the car need to be carried out. The first big race for the team and the new car will occur soon: the Supercar Challenge during the Gamma Racing Day from 17-19 August, this summer. At this race, Forze will show that sustainability and racing can be synonymous, as the car’s only emission is pure water. This year’s goal is to win the Sports Division, and the team has faith in their flagship car. Vermeij: “With a brand new car, and a new sponsor with F1 experience, breaking hydrogen records and pioneering in sustainable racing is just a matter of time.”

24h Nürburgring 2018 – Foto: Gruppe C Photography

 

Hydrogen as Fuel

With the development of hydrogen powered race cars, Forze aims to emphasize the feasibility of hydrogen as a clean fuel for the future. The hydrogen powered system works as follows: in the fuel cell of the racer, hydrogen from the storage tanks combines with oxygen from the environment to produce water, and electricity. The powertrain of the vehicle then uses this electricity to power the electric motors. One of the big advantages of this system is that bulky and heavy batteries are left out, in favour of the fuel cell. This allows fuel cell cars to have a relatively high range compared to BEVs. Another big advantage is that you can refuel the car in a matter of minutes, making it very practical for endurance racing, but also for everyday life.

About Forze

Forze is a student team from the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. The team consists of 45 students from different majors, ranging from aerospace engineering to industrial design. They all unite to carry out the goal of promoting hydrogen fuel cell technology by designing, building, and racing a state-of-the-art fuel cell powered race car. That’s what being a Dream team at the TU Delft is all about: learning and innovating, to push the boundaries of what is technologically possible.

 

24h Nürburgring 2018 – Foto: Gruppe C Photography

 

More pictures on our gallery: https://www.forze-delft.nl/media/

Next Generation Forze – Long Days and Short Nights

Last month’s disassembly of the car was an exciting experience. Now that the car is disassembled, the upgrades can begin! Projects we have been working on the whole year now come to a realisation and are being manufactured. Read on to find out about the big improvements we are implementing in the coming weeks and other things that have kept us busy this past month!

Start production of molds at Jules Dock

The biggest and most noteworthy improvement to our car will be the completely redesigned bodywork. The new bodywork consists of 9 different molds which are going to be produced at Jules Dock shaping. For our CAD-guys, this meant many long days and short nights.

The molds will be brought to Airborne to begin the layering of the carbon fiber shell. This labor intensive process will be quite a challenge to complete in the limited timeframe, but will greatly improve the performance. The team is excited to see the new bodywork on the car and is motivated to begin with this process!

Wiring harness production 

The past month, a lot of manpower was put into the new wiring harness of the next generation Forze car. Seven team members from many different departments (including management) spent 2 weeks designing the complete wiring harness in CAD. This was done in order to get highly accurate dimensions and to give our successors a head start in developing a wiring harness for subsequent iterations of Forze racers in the future.

When our designs were finished in 3D, they were flattened and printed on paper. On these 2D designs wires were laid, creating bundles of various lengths and thicknesses. In fact, over 300 meters of wire was used in the complete harness! Currently, the last connectors are being attached, after which the harness can be installed in the Forze flagship car.

Show Forze to the outside world 

We have been to some interesting events last month. In early March, the team visited the Symposium of Rotterdam The Hague innovation airport as guests with our hydrogen demo model. For a varied public we explained hydrogen technology and gained new insights on how hydrogen can be used in the aerospace sector.

Also, the team attended the green future event at the Hovenpassage in Delft. The Forze VI was put on display inside the shopping mall in order to inspire passersby to think about a sustainable hydrogen powered future.

Recruiting the best engineers for next year

This month was also the beginning for the recruitment of the next full-time team, as after the Gamma Racing Days team XI will hand over all its responsibilities to the new full-time members.Our interest drinks, in which the garage is opened to potential new team members for drinks and a chat with the team’s engineers, were extremely popular this year. The coming weeks will be busy with interviews and selection of new team members!

Next generation almost there!

 

 And finally: the best for last. An announcement that the Team is very excited about:

The next generation of Forze’s zero-emission hydrogen racers will be called: “Forze 8”

Check out the teaser video of the Forze 8 (tip: turn your sound on)

Meeting the Presidents of the Benelux & Planning insight

After lots of communication with untraceable phone numbers and email addresses the moment was there, we were meeting with the Prime Ministers of the Netherlands (Mark Rutte), Belgium (Charles Michel) and Luxembourg (Xavier Bettel) during the Benelux Top to discuss the future of hydrogen. Positive note; implementing more hydrogen fuel stations in the Benelux is a high priority on their political agenda.

Meeting the Presidents

When we (Karsten Bakker, Gijs vermeij, Christophe Geuens and Simon Vermeijlen) arrived at “Het Catshuis” we did not really know what to expect. At the beginning all the police, personal drivers, press, event managers and people concerned with our “performance” were quite overwhelming. But after unloading our Forze VII we were getting comfortable and received an extensive briefing about our meeting. They urged us not to ask if the Prime Minister would like to take place behind the steering wheel of the Forze VII, a thing we really liked to do. But taking seat in the car could put the Prime Minister in a too awkward position with press around.

We provided the three Prime Ministers with a so-called energizing session in between their meeting and diner. In 15-20 minutes we were able to have a private talk with the three Prime Ministers surrounding our car. In this time we explained the vision, mission and functioning of our team and the advantages of fuel cell technology. Furthermore they were interested in us as students, our studies and setup of our project. They were smooth in their communication and made lots of politically correct jokes.

Dyno-test

From pitlane to politics and back to the garage as we had to prepare and run another dyno test. We mainly tested our new water separator, which we improved to prevent water getting mixed into the air, needed to run the fuel cell. In addition we tried to eliminate the oscillations of our high side current to prevent damage in our systems and improve our power output.

Road services “help” Forze

In addition we had a visit of the first hydrogen powered road service car of the Netherlands  (ANWB wegenwacht). Which started as a fun idea ended up in a hydrogen promotion video to show hydrogen is accessible nowadays and even familiar instances like the ANWB are putting fuel cell cars on the road. The video reached over a 100.000 people in 2 days and delivered some pretty enthusiastic reactions on all our social media platforms. It might even be that a fictional brand character of the team, called the stig’s hydrogen cousin also known as The Forze Driver, was created.

Behind the scenes:

Road Racing

Together with our main sponsor PitPoint we attended the Elfwegentocht company event. At the moment we are looking into public road racing projects to bring the car’s performances and the sustainable hydrogen mobility to the people. The Elfwegentocht is a two week long event in July, in which not a single drop of fossil fuel is used in the mobility sector of Friesland. This could be a great platform for Forze’s mission.

Jumbo Racing & Sinterklaas

Together with our main sponsor PitPoint we attended the Elfwegentocht company event. At the moment we are looking into public road racing projects to bring the car’s performances and the sustainable hydrogen mobility to the people. The Elfwegentocht is a two week long event in July in which not a single drop of fossil fuel is used in the mobility sector of Friesland. This could be a great platform for Forze’s mission.

Last we had some great contact with our partners during the sponsor drink in which we had every attended set a laptime in our new simulator. Our vehicle and aerodynamics department were happy to be invited by Dayvtech to make notes of the aero-package and suspension of the extremely cool but unfortunately not (yet) hydrogen fueled le Mains racer of the Jumbo racing team. Then they finished their day by joining the rest of the team to celebrate the good old saints birthday for Sinterklaas

By: Karsten Bakker

Planning & Progress

December has fallen upon us, meaning that we are now over 3 months into our year. December is also crucial in terms of the design process, as the designs of most of the larger projects have to be finalised in this month. It is therefore a good time to mirror the progress made against the initial planning.

A quick glance at the Gantt chart compiled in August shows that many projects take somewhat longer than expected. The two main reasons are that most things are new to our engineers and take time to master. Also, we simply cannot spend all the time we have on our own projects. Things like short term tasks, test days and other events take up time as well.

This does not mean that no progress has been made. On the contrary: many projects are far in their design phase. During the past month, several large projects have undergone review during the design presentations. These presentations allow current as well as previous board members to shed a light on the designs, and give feedback based on their own expertise. The meetings are usually held in the evening and often turn out to be very lengthy. But they also turn out to be crucial for the final design. The feedback our engineers get really helps them in the process. The meetings also serve as a deadline to have their design finished up to a certain point.

Examples of projects that have been under review lately are the subframe and the low voltage power system. Both projects are essential parts of the redesign of the car this year. A delay here would delay the entire assembly process.

Another big project in this respect is the redesign of the bodywork. Having finished the CAD model of the first design, our aerodynamics engineers have now started to analyse air flows around the model using CFD software. They will further iterate on the model in the coming weeks to optimise its aerodynamic properties.

As a Technical Manager, my role is to make the initial planning of all the projects we do, prioritise the different projects, keep track of all the progress, and adjust the planning when necessary. Making sure the projects are finished in time is my number one responsibility. This mainly involves discussing the progress with our engineers, see where time can be gained and where certain projects may have to be dropped. The ultimate goal of the year is to perform on the Gamma Racing Days, and eventually the projects that contribute most to this goal, should have the highest priority.

“Plans are nothing; planning is everything”

  • Dwight D. Eisenhower

By: Thomas Barendse

 

Maximal gearbox testing & knowledge transfer

Intro

The 18 fulltimers are getting their hands on the difficulties of high-tech hydrogen (racing) engineering and its industry. A lot of effort is being put into acquiring components like new hydrogen storage tanks, performing race simulations to find the maximum gearbox torque and adapting complex designs. In addition the Ministry of Defense showed interest in our fuel cell system. 

Scroll down for pictures

Maximal gearbox testing 

At the moment a lot of effort is being put in the arrangement of new hydrogen tanks, to get us from 350 up to 700 bar enabling us to almost double hydrogen storage and thereby our racing minutes. Finally this should help us set highly competitive lap times in the Supercar Challenge.  In addition a big project we worked on concerned a leaking gearbox. During a test at the RDW Lelystad, a GoPro was mounted under the rear cover of the car. When driving laps on the track, this GoPro would take footage of the gearbox in action, such that we could see where the oil was leaking.

Since we also were testing the gearbox on the maximal torque it can deliver, some unfavourable spectacular footage could also be expected if the gearbox did reach its limits. Fortunately it did not break, but we could clearly see a lot of oil leaking. Surprisingly, the footage also showed that the gearbox shifted in its mount when loaded… Luckily were able to spot and fix this on time before doing any damage to our car.

Although we now were certain that it was the gearbox which is leaking, we did not know where from. To figure that out, another test was planned. This time, fluorescent dye was mixed with the gearbox oil and a UV-lamp illuminated the system. With this addition, it became very easy to pinpoint the source of our leakage problems. And, besides from creating a huge mess, it gave us some pretty, disco-esque pictures of our car.

Besides the gearbox project there are various other activities going on as well. The Fuel Cell department, for example, is 3D printing its own components for use in the car. Other departments are mainly working out their design concepts or are installing a large amount of sensors they just acquired from goodwill companies. In the current phase a lot of work goes into these finalising and adapting concepts, as we are rebuilding the entire chassis of the car.

Knowledge transfer

Communication is key. Besides advising others, we ourselves can use a lot of advice on our projects as well. For this, we scheduled a quarterly meeting with the previous boards of Forze. To get as much valuable knowledge as possible across, we openly discussed our running projects. When taking into account that our team is running for 10 years, the core-team fully changes every year and that we are in a rapidly evolving industry, you could imagine that good communication is saving us a lot. To smoothen the knowledge transfer we see proper communication as an essential part of our focus. This starts with a stand-up every morning at 10:00 o’clock with all the team members present.

Science For Humanity. On Friday 13 and Saturday 14 October the Forze VII was surrounded by high-tech military vehicles of the Dutch Defense. In the stylish new National Military Museum the Science for Humanity event gave us the opportunity to discuss hydrogen with very interesting people from Defense. We concluded that the Ministry of Defense is seriously investigating innovative energy solutions like hydrogen fuel cell systems.

Hydrogen = Trending On the 19th of October we made our second visit to the Martiniplaza in Groningen. This time we were exhibiting the Forze VII at Trendship. We were surrounded by a lot of interesting people the whole day. The guests really appreciated our team and were already quite knowledgeable on hydrogen themselves.

Open Days The faculties of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science and Industrial Design asked us to be present at their open days. We inspired upcoming students with our Forze stories and with our two most recent hydrogen racecars of course, the Forze VI and VII.

Karsten Bakker, Christophe Geuens, Simon Vermeijlen

 

 

WORK AT PITPOINT

Our main sponsor is looking for you!

 

Working at PitPoint means working for a cleaner future of transportation. By producing cleaner fuels and making these available, PitPoint can attain a cleaner air but keep the fun of driving! Therefore, PitPoint invests in the production of Biomethane, opens new fuel stations for Biomethane/CNG and LNG, installs and maintains charging points and has started to install hydrogen fuel stations. PitPoint, driven by nature to move forward (www.pitpoint.nl).

PitPoint is always looking for new talent.

For an overview of our open positions please visit our website for more information: http://www.pitpoint.nl/vacatures/

Are you interested in working at PitPoint? Send your resume to recruitment@pitpoint.nl. For more information about one of our vacancies, please contact Milou Koreman, +31 30 410 08 00.

September: Forze is Wanted

September was a month of the most prestigious events (scroll down for pictures), the car’s first test day with the new team and getting to know the ropes of everyone’s individual function. The interest in Forze and our challenging future plans make the first month even more thriving than expected. In the racing industry it is definitely moving with pace…

Forze: wanted

The first month was full of events for Forze. On Saturday September 2nd, the Forze VII made its first appearance of the month in Breda. The VSV of the Aerospace faculty invited us to come to their Airshow at Breda International Airport. Our ‘Blue Lady’ was lined up between the airplanes and got lots of attention. Airplane fanatics apparently really like race cars as well!

Next Friday, September 8th, we went up North, to the ‘Ondernemersgala’ in Groningen. The Forze VII was showed off in the spotlights on a huge stage. She was surrounded by a full orchestra for a spectacular night of music and dancing.

Forze’s biggest and most spectacular static event yet was up next. From September 12th until September 17th the Forze VII was exhibited at the world’s largest motor show, the IAA in Frankfurt. At the stand of our partner DSM, we attracted lots of visitors from all over the globe. We were happy to witness the release of many new production cars, including Mercedes Benz’s latest fuel cell model, the GLC F-Cell. It was a fantastic feeling to be appreciated and praised by so many interesting people in the automotive industry.

On Thursday September 28th the Forze VI got to be part of yet another interesting event. At the Insight Techshow in Amsterdam, she was a real eye catcher right at the entrance. Our Software Engineer, Jan Maarten, accompanied our previous racer and found himself in his natural habitat as the theme was ‘Connected through the Cloud’.

The next day, the Forze VII was taken to its last event of the month. In Deventer, the ’24h Waterstof Challenge’ was about to begin. Six teams attempted to drive their hydrogen fuel cell car as far as possible through Europe in 24 hours. Forze was happy to launch the challenge and speak to some interesting people in the hydrogen industry. We hope the challenge gives another boost to the awareness of the potential of hydrogen.

We are technically busy

Vehicle dynamics has started with the design of the new subframe. Joints are being modelled, meetings are still held till deep in the evening and early hours tweaking of the suspension is not uncommon. Luckily, we have a (vehicle) dynamic duo working around the clock to make sure the subframe will be nothing less than the absolute best. Our aerodynamics engineers are still glued to their computers doing nothing but modelling and looking at pictures of the most advanced race cars. Meanwhile the fuel cell department is breaking their heads over all the data and complicated fuel lines. The electro and powertrain departments have already started visiting sponsors and meeting experts about all the confusing cables, PCB’s and converters.

Only working on new designs however yields a very good car in the simulations but a poorly functioning car. Therefore we also already started with testing. From the first test the new team learned about all the protocols and safety requirements. The old team explained us all the ins and outs of conducting a good test. This resulted in valuable new insights on our humidification system which still needs some fine-tuning. The second test, we conducted our self, was a very exciting one. Finally we had the chance to test our inhouse developed gearbox to the max. During the first part of the test we forgot to turn off the safety, which made us falsely convinced our gearbox was very strong, but when we fixed this mistake, we all got rewarded that our gearbox was indeed very strong as it could handle the maximum torque our motors can deliver. Aside from one of the aerodynamics engineers trying to install the rear wing upside down the test went fairly smooth and gave us confidence in the new team. We are sure the upcoming year will be a rollercoaster with glorious and stressful times, but the past month gave a heads up that we will surely make a hydrogen car that is able to win from combustion cars.

 

 

Karsten Bakker, Simon Vermeijlen, Jelle de Vries

Future Plans of the New Board

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The goal is to put us in a position to win. For achieving this goal, there are quite many projects to follow from a technical point of view. This includes fixing flaws that the current setup still shows but also making necessary major alterations and additions. First, all systems, counting in the fuel cell, should be able to run on their respective full specifications to contest the podium while ensuring steady, reliable conditions especially mechanically, thermodynamically and software-wise. In addition, as a complete race weekend does not only include a 45-minute race like the one that the Forze VII has already competed in but also a 60-minute race, one essential project is to increase the endurance capabilities in race conditions. This will be achieved by implementing larger tanks while at the same time doubling the system pressure of the hydrogen storage from 350 to 700 bars. Furthermore, the rear suspension currently does not completely behave as desired and will therefore be completely redesigned, allowing the car to be even faster, more easily controllable and safer in the corners. A new subframe supports the two previous projects while also giving the opportunity to further optimize the packaging of all systems in the car. Finally, the bodywork will undergo tremendous changes, improving the aerodynamic performance and cooling as well as access and maintenance of the car.

Steffen Strübing – Chief Engineer

The New Team

Besides the changes our car will undergo in the coming year, the team itself is also subject to some changes compared to the previous team. The greatest change is the full-time team expanding from eleven to a respectable eighteen dedicated team members. This increase in work force will allow for more projects to be realized, both in the tech and non-tech departments. It also, however, requires more managerial and organizational effort to keep the foundation running. For this reason, the management team has been reinforced with two new functions. First of all, the new function of Operations Manager has been added to the board, to successfully plan and guide the increasing number of events – both static and dynamic – the team is involved in. Secondly, an Acquisitions Manager will be fully focused on acquiring the financial and material resources, necessary to achieve the team’s goals. As promoting the use of hydrogen in the mobility sector is still the mission of the team, we plan to organize a big marketing stunt this year, aiming to reach an audience broader than ever.

Overall, these changes will allow us, Year XI of Forze and its partners, to show once more the capabilities of hydrogen electric power to the world and place a good technical foundation for the years to come.

Gijs Vermeij – Team Manager

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Backstage at Forze during the Gamma Racing Days 2017

Backstage at Forze during the Gamma Racing Days 2017

 

After an exciting weekend at the Gamma Racing Day 2017, I have the honour of providing you with an update on behalf of the entire team about our progress. The emotions of the past weekend would be hard to explain without giving the context of the eventful year that preceded it. I will try to give a quick explanation of what made this race such a truly remarkable event for the whole team.

Work began with the new full-time team on September 1st 2016. The year began with some technical challenges, which provided an early hit to our morale. Fortunately the team was able to rally, and after many iterations, updates, and improvements to the car, most notably the accumulator system, the first kilometers could be driven. The team’s first public tests were to be held at the Pinksterraces at Circuit Zandvoort. Considering this would be the first drive on the track at Zandvoort, the test weekend was a much anticipated event. The car and team were ready and set to go, until several days before the track day, during a routine test, the vehicle refused to start. Consequently, many sleepless nights were spent trouble shooting, which resulted in a fix. The car hummed to life five minutes before the first test session was scheduled to begin that Friday. The test day was optimally used, providing much information and insight into performance. Unfortunately the weekend was cut short when, during a full power test on Saturday, the driveshaft disconnected from one of the gearboxes. This meant a temporary end of testing, and another eventful week for the team.

Several weeks elapsed before the Forze flagship vehicle was test-ready again, during which all hands were on deck to give the car as much track time before the year’s finale in August. Leo van der Eijk, Kevin Schreiber and Jan Bot each put in many late night hours to help the car back to operational status before it could be pushed to its limits on the track. Because of this monumental effort by all involved, the car charted faster times with each lap, and became more reliable and predictable every session… on the only exception of whenever Jan Lammers came to spectate. Our team ambassador was scheduled to drive a few laps in the car before the Gamma Racing Day in order to give feedback and to help promotion. Unfortunately both times he dropped by, the car refused to cooperate and did not start up as planned. As disappointing as it was, that is the nature of engineering complex systems on the forefront of what is technologically possible. Taking a positive mindset is vital at such times, and it was concluded that a breakdown during testing was better than on the big day, after all…

The last weeks could best be described as an intense, but rewarding flurry of activity. How the team’s engineers were still standing after 4 tests in 6 days, of which the earliest began at 9am in Assen, is anybody’s guess. Other than eating and the occasional nap, the technical core team, consisting of Huib Versteeg, Sander Verhage, Joost Berendsen, Oscar Verbeek, Sieger Falkena, Coen Lastdrager, Beau Smit and Colin Heimans, lived and breathed hydrogen. Exhausted as they were, their efforts paid off, and their performance was crucial in getting the car ready in the final stages of preparation.

On Thursday the 3rd of august at 7am, the race weekend began. The first heavily laden cars and busses departed Delft towards the TT circuit. Once we arrived, Tinie Lam, Sieger and I could begin setting the public relations stand up. Tinie and I would finally see the results of months of preparations… and what results they were! Tweereclame and Improve both provided us with a great begin to the weekend with a paddock that was beyond anyone’s expectations. Friday’s arrivals were Andy Maassen of Sim Racing Limburg with the race simulator, and Sodexo with the snacks and drinks to complete the stand. To round it off, the Toyota Mirai of Louwman & Parqui was placed out front. Once it was done, we observed the paddock in awe: it came together better than expected, and believe me, expectations were high!

Building the stand wasn’t the only thing that happened on Friday. The mechanics hangar in the Dream Hall in Delft was completely mobilised in order to provide technical support to the Forze VII which would go operational that day! I stood on the roof of the pit building with Daan Sistermans, our contact at Pitpoint, watching the Forze VII depart towards the track. All seemed to be going well until the vehicle stopped after travelling only ten meters down the pit lane. After minutes waiting, and another uneasy 30 meters travelled, the car was towed back to the paddock. The beginning of the free training was without a doubt one of the most stressful moments of the year. The car had been reliable in the preceding weeks, this could not have possibly been the end of the weekend. All the other team members on the roof and I had no idea what was wrong. Ultimately the issue was narrowed down to a pump that had failed to start, a fairly simple fix, but at the time I was preparing myself for another disappointment akin to what we experienced at the Pinksterraces. Fortunately, Sieger was able to restart the pump, and we were able to utilize the second half of training. Leo was in his zone, and even managed to race to the fourth best time in the class! After training, a wave of relief swept the team, and Daan could return to the Pitpoint office with good news.

The tech team worked until midnight Friday night, during which time I was also busy testing the simulator, as well as cleaning up and finalizing the VIP lounge, where we would receive our first guests Saturday morning. Because we were only participating in the race on Sunday, Saturday was a good day to get used to life on the track running a stand. It was noticeably quieter Saturday than Sunday, and after all tasks were finished in the morning, we were able to take a quick tour around the paddock. After focusing so hard on the car for so long, it was almost a surprise to find a whole world outside of Forze bustling with activity! A breath of fresh air was well deserved. Saturday was relatively uneventful and after the first enthusiastic guests came and went, and after having explained the intricacy of hydrogen fuel cells countless times, the team left the paddock for the relaxing environment of the “Glamping” to enjoy a delicious barbecue. After this, the heroes of the full-time tech team went back to the paddock to work until 4am getting the car race ready for the next day.

Sunday race day! Waking up was already pretty strange, as the day began almost like any other day. Only two hours before the race, when my mother, tears in eyes, told me how proud she was of the team, and only after people began to ask if I was nervous did I begin to feel the rush of adrenaline flush my body. Today is the day, a year of more than full-time work culminates in the events of today. The tension was palpable. An hour before the race, the team and guests assembled in the main tent, Mats Dirkzwager and Erik Bütker on behalf of Pitpoint gave a short word. Afterwards, the tent was closed down as quickly as possible and the best places along the track were found to observe the coming race. Nerves were truly on display when, during a short but powerful pre-race speech, Joost brought the team to tears.

Let the race begin! At 3pm I was ready on the grandstand to watch the field depart for the formation lap. The plan was for the Forze VII to begin at the back, then begin its climb up the leaderboards. The whole field had started, except for that one blue clad hydrogen powered racer. Forze VII lay motionless. This could not be possible! All those late nights and weekends spent toiling over the car flashed through my head. This was the worst moment for the car not to start. This could not be happening! It took three rounds, and the tension could be cut with a knife. From a distance, Tinie, my brother and I saw the back cover of the car open, as Remco Duba moved in to begin his technical magic from behind the screen of his laptop. Success! After a few more rounds, the back cover closed once again, and Leo guided the car out of the pit lane. Thanks Remco! The most inspiring was not that the car started, but the reaction of the spectators once it appeared on track. A massive applause followed the Forze VII as she lapped the track for the first time during an official race. Needless to say I was not the only one with goosebumps. After two minutes the car passed again, and this time Leo even began to flash his lights as he passed the grandstand! It was an amazing feeling to see the car race by, because that is precisely what it was: racing. This was proven when, in the first 20 minutes, Leo passed two cars in the first corner combo of the track. I don’t know what was going through his mind at the time, but my weekend had been made.

After a smooth pitstop, Jan took over the wheel. He would be the one to “take the car home”. The last ten minutes were very suspenseful, and Jan even overtook a Porsche in the same place that Leo passed two cars earlier. That the Porsche later overtook our car on the straights is besides the point, as a few moments later the TU Delft Forze VII crossed the finish line as the first ever hydrogen powered vehicle ever past the checkered flag! That moment was surreal, and I almost didn’t register at first. The car was on its way to the parc fermé where Tinie and I sprinted to congratulate the team. I almost ran past the car without realising it, when someone opened a gate and we joined the group photo. Then came the realisation of what the team had pulled off. All present and past, full- and part-time team members were overcome with joy. We pulled it off! The work of the past 10 years had all culminated and paid off on this one day in Assen. We even got a podium ceremony! As victors, we departed towards the grandstand where the party could really begin. I was first to receive felicitations, and after a few minutes the Forze VII entered with the whole tech team on top. What a heroes! Leo parked the car in front of the Supercar Challenge tent to allow Mats (with some help) to climb on top and deliver a speech. All were thanked, and the milestone could be celebrated!

Later that night, the tent was closed down in record time, and we all departed towards the glamping. We were able to finally relax and enjoy the exhaustive, but ultimately rewarding weekend.

As cliché as it is I will end this story on the following notes. What began as a quick summary of our weekend evolved into a saga in which I attempted to give a glimpse into the events and emotions of the weekend. I hope that you enjoyed this journey as much as we did at Forze. It would not have been possible without you, our sponsor, but also the parents, family and friends that have supported us enormously throughout this endeavour. In addition to this, there was a large group of part-time team members involved in this performance. This group may have, at times, been undervalued, but they too have been invaluable. I would also like to thank Hugo de Wolf and Jarno Kraayvanger of Worcflow, our media partners, for capturing our year in pictures. And I would like to extend special thanks to our primary sponsor Pitpoint; the Supercar Challenge, for giving us a chance to show the world what hydrogen is capable of; and finally the event sponsors Tweereclame, Sodexo, Improve, and Sim Racing Limburg, who helped us during the event to give the professional image that we hoped to portray.

I hope that you enjoyed this weekend and this story as much as I did. Even writing this brings a smile to my face that, for the time being, won’t be going anywhere.

– Mathieu Blanke, Acquisitions Manager

(English story by Willem van Vliet)

Gamma Racing Day 2017: WE DID IT!

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Delftse studenten pakken wereldprimeur met waterstofraceauto

ASSEN – Tijdens de Gamma Racing Day op 6 augustus 2017 heeft het studententeam Forze Hydrogen Electric Racing van de TU Delft deelgenomen aan een fossiele brandstofcompetitie op het TT circuit in Assen. De studenten deden dit met een 100% schone waterstof-elektrische auto. Hiermee zet het team een wereldprimeur neer met waterstof in de conventionele racewereld.

De start van de race verliep enigszins moeizaam, maar ze hebben zich snel herpakt en konden zeer competitief meedoen met de sportklasse van de Supercar Challenge. “Dit is een unieke prestatie, voor het eerst deelnemen in een conventionele raceklasse met een waterstof-elektrische raceauto. Bizar dat we dit met z’n allen hebben kunnen doen. Ik sta er nog steeds een beetje van te kijken”, vertelt Team Manager Mats Dirkzwager. Tijdens de vrije training op vrijdag wist het team al de vierde tijd neer te zetten in de raceklasse. Dit toonde de potentie van de auto.

TU Delft students make world debut with hydrogen race car

ASSEN – Student team Forze Hydrogen Electric Racing has participated in a fossil fuelled competition during the Gamma Racing Days on the 6th of August 2017. The students competed with a zero emission hydrogen-electric car. The team has made the first step with hydrogen into the conventional racing world.

After a difficult start, the students picked themselves and joined the Supercar Challenge competitively. “This is a unique performance, participate as world’s first in a conventional race with a hydrogen-electric car. It’s incredible that we achieved this with the team. I am still impressed”, tells team manager Mats Dirkzwager. During the practise on Friday, the team already managed to pull of a fourth position. This truly shows the potential of the car.

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