Last year, the University of Tokyo Formula Factory (UTFF) asked us if we would like to do something together. We have been searching for ways to provide meaningful support to the students who will be responsible for the future of the automobile industry. Through interviews, we came up with the problem of securing a place to practise, which is an unavoidable part of motorsport competitions.
The planning and organization of the trial run was led by Yu Suzuki, team leader of the University of Tokyo Formula Factory (UTFF) and leader of FM Kanto, the student automobile research group, with the students taking the lead in designing the course layout, providing officials and guidance on the day.
A total of 130 students from seven schools - the University of Tokyo, NIPPON University College of Science and Technology, Chiba University, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Kogakuin University, Kyoto Institute of Technology and Tokyo Metropolitan University (in grid order) - participated in the trial run on the day of the event. All of the strong schools, including last year's winner, have a good chance of winning this year's championship.
On the day of the test run, the teams had to deal with unstable weather conditions typical of this time of year, such as fog and sudden rain, but they had a very productive time, with many teams trying various test runs, using different types of slick and wet tyres. In the morning, many teams experimented with the performance of their vehicles, running the acceleration to measure straight line times and the skidpad to evaluate the body's turning performance.
And the University of Tokyo UTFF, which had the only EV-powered machine on the day, timed the rainfall to successfully complete the shakedown and record shoot. The event also attracted a large number of visitors from non-participating schools.
In the afternoon, the course layout was changed to resemble a real circuit course, and the course was tested with various settings. The top-ranked teams in the competition were particularly impressive, showing their full preparation for the event two months before it is due to start at the end of August.
Although the day was plagued by heavy fog and sudden rain, we were impressed by the students' direct efforts towards their respective goals. Negroni will continue to support this activity in the future as part of its efforts to promote the automotive industry.
The winner of the prize driving shoes was Mr Fujita, leader of last year's winner, Kyoto Institute of Technology.