Exclusive insight into the cockpit: 5 questions to Rennstall Esslingen

Exclusive insight into the cockpit: 5 questions to Rennstall Esslingen

It’s that time again: The Formula Student team, sponsored by Handtmann Elteka, is starting into their new race season. With a brilliant show at Werfthalle Göppingen, the brand new “Stallardo `16” was presented, lately. On board: Our cast nylon Lauramid® which supports the team on its way to the pole position as a high-end component of the pedals. Two things are essential for the successful performance of the team: A reliable car and a team that is ready to put in their efforts from the first to the last second of the season. This the two students, team leader Oliver Peters and driver Christoph Lösle, learned while working in this project.

Mr Peters, the construction of the racing car is very time and cost intensive. The whole team works at the project around the clock and with a lot of passion. At the time the car is finally ready to go on the race track you certainly want to make sure that the best driver is in the cockpit. How does Rennstall Esslingen decide who takes on this responsible task?

Oliver Peters: We were lucky this year. One of our drivers, Christoph Lösle, already drove the car over the racing tracks successfully last year. When it was clear that Christoph is on board again we all agreed that he should be behind the steering wheel once more. He’s not only experienced in driving our bolide, but also has a lot of expertise on kart-tracks all over Germany, where he’s been driving from the beginning of his early youth. This experiences are priceless, because for doing the Formula Student races you need a lot of driving skills. For some of the disciplines, e. g. the endurance competition, you need more than one driver. So we did a tender on top to complete the team of four drivers.

Mr Lösle, you are an old hand on karts. What attracted you to make the move to drive a Formula Student car?

Christoph Lösle: When I first heard about the project „Rennstall“ at the university two years ago, I was immediately full of enthusiasm. I wanted to be part of this team, but not only as a driver. The special thing for me was the chance to drive a racing car that was co-built by myself. Driving Stallardo this season again is a big honor for me and my performance last year. I really look forward to going on the racing tracks again and to show which great car was built by the team.

For the „Mission Cockpit“ you certainly need physical fitness. Is there a special training program which you do before the season starts?

Christoph Lösle (smiles): Honestly, no. I’m running all year round, anyway. On top it’s the best training to drive the car as often as possible. That I do, whenever there’s time for. At one point you know every characteristic of the car, for example the steering system or the breaking behaviour. From this moment on you optimally have to use these finesses.

On August 9th the new season 2016 starts at Hockenheim. Can you describe a typical racing weekend? Is it like Formula One?

Oliver Peters: No, there are many differences. First of all, Formula Student is no racing competition but a construction competition. The race itself is only the heart of the racing weekend. Furthermore there are assessments in many different categories. So for example the jury values the business plan of the team, the endurance or the economy of the car. For each category the team gets points and the best total package wins in the end. That means that the whole team is involved within different tasks during the weekend.

Christoph Lösle: Even for us, the drivers, the races are totally different to Formula One. While Formula One drivers could test the circuit intensively with the car before the race, at Formula Student we are only allowed to take a walk on the course beforehand. During this walking inspection we have to memorize all features of the racing track. So we cannot take the car on the circuit until the actual race. Every time this really is a thrilling moment, where my long expertise on the cart and the familiarity with Stallardo do me a good service.

That really sounds adventurously. Aren’t there a lot of accidents?

Oliver Peters: No. The cars go on the race track one after another for the speed tests. This is also a big difference to Formula One. Small damages at the car sometimes happen, when you touch on of the course boarders. This is very annoying because it means a loss of time and, in the worst case, even the end of the race. Well, then it’s time to roll up your sleeves and refloat the car as fast as possible. Fingers crossed that it won’t happen to us this season.

Mr Peters, Mr Lösle, in the name of Handtmann Elteka we wish you a successful, accident-free season. Thanks for the interview.