In pole position with HBM: step-1 gets open source MiKAR C301B onto the starting line

To take part in an FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) race in your own racing car – this dream inspired the racing enthusiasts who started work on a very special fast car in 2008, with the step-1 project. For although the cost of developing this vehicle, christened the MiKAR C301B, is not far behind that of the well-known Formula 1 and DTM team, funds are tight. However, enjoyment, passion and excellent ideas are making up for this restricted budget.

So it's no wonder that more than 35 small and medium-sized businesses and colleges are fans of the project. HBM is also on board – with top test and measuring equipment, such as the QuantumX universal mobile data recorder. This makes an indispensable contribution in tests of vehicle dynamics and performance measurements on the test track, which are crucial for the safety of this E2-SC sports prototype and its FIA license.

Just 8 years for an FIA license with intelligence, passion and trust as start-up capital

Building your own racing car and driving it in an official FIA race is what many people dream of. For the Sports prototype Team Engineering Project - 1 (step-1 for short), this dream is soon to become a reality. For following the – hopefully successful – tests planned for winter 2016/2017, a vehicle manufacturer's license from the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile will finally be in sight. After this, the next goal will be a license to drive the MiKAR C301B in official hill climbing and circuit races. This is a notable achievement, because despite extremely scanty financial resources, only 6 years have passed from the start of the project to the first rollout and subsequent race circuit test in Hockenheim. This lightning start was thanks to the passionate commitment of all students, technicians and engineers involved. They all invested their free evenings and weekends to actually get the MiKAR C301B into pole position, with the motto "Intelligent ideas not budget" as their inspiration.

This unusual project, which manages without written contracts and whose research findings, based on open source principles, are available to all partners, found support among more than 35 small and medium-sized companies as well as numerous colleges. Their specialized areas of expertise all make a useful contribution to the open step-1 network. The project's successes speak for themselves: In 2016, the three-year track record was smashed twice on the Bilster Berg race track, by a clear margin. In addition, in 2017 the MiKAR C301B will celebrate its premiere on the starting line of an FIA race. And this success is also due to HBM.

HBM ensures safety on the track

In the step-1 project, HBM is a development partner who provides reliable test and measuring equipment for vital measurements using strain gauges (SGs) during driving – including the mobile, autonomous QuantumX CX22B-W data recorder, the MX840B universal module, and SGs. The precise load data delivered during the test drives provide valuable information on the forces and tensions to which safety-relevant components are subject, and their effects on construction. They therefore provide the drivers with priceless life insurance. In addition to strain, acceleration and temperatures are also measured directly with the module. Current bus signals such as rotational speed, vehicle speed, gear and a great deal more are synchronously stored in the data memory via CAN.

And the star attraction? Using a GPS sensor connected to the QuantumX, the exact geographical location, vehicle speed and absolute time can be recorded and also included in the measurement data. This enables the synchronized analysis of all signals in the map material loaded in catman from Google Maps. The extensive display of the measured values for each position on the test track enables the developers to trace each driving situation with precision, and to analyze which loads are acting on the racing car, and when and where these occur. In this way, the construction and tuning of the MiKAR C301B can be optimized in a more targeted manner. Next on the agenda is the additional connection of a camera, which will also record the driven vehicle in moving pictures.

The initiator of the step-1 project, Michael Kerber, is understandably enthusiastic about the numerous possibilities of mobile data acquisition with QuantumX, and the simple analysis of load and power data with catman AP from HBM. Both the performance and easy operation of the universal amplifier and the reliable, uncomplicated interplay between all HBM components have impressed these experienced developers, who work for a renowned vehicle manufacturer. And the same applies to the project support provided by the responsible contacts at HBM.