Introducing: engine department

22/02/2018

Olli Pernu

Henri Pulkkinen

Who are you?

Olli: I'm Olli Pernu and I'm this season's head of the engine department with Henri. In the previous seasons, I have first been part of frame department and after finishing the frame, I have then switched to the engine department for the rest of the season.

 Henri: I'm Henri Pulkkinen and with Olli I'm the head of the engine department. 

What do you study?

Olli: I study vehicle engineering in TAMK and I specialize in industrial vehicle engineering. This is my third year in TAMK and in the formula team.

Henri: I study vehicle engineering in TAMK and I also specialize in industrial vehicle engineering.

How did you end up in Formula Student -project?

Olli: I found out about Tampere UAS Motorsport before I applied to  TAMK. At that point I decided that if I ever got in TAMK, I would also apply for the formula team. I wanted to complete my theoretical studies with something practical.

Henri: While applying to TAMK I came across the formula team and got interested. After the semester began I decided to join the team.

What have you gained from being part of the team?

Olli: Formula Student is the biggest student project in TAMK. In this team you get to work in a large community of people from different fields of study. While being part of this team, you inevitably create contacts to businesses that are our partners. I have also improved my leadership skills as the head of the department.

Henri: Working in the team gives you the experience what it actually is like to be in a project. Also, you get to be a part of the designing process. A big advantage is learning different production methods. Therefore the ability to make better designing solutions increases.

What are your responsibilities?

The engine department's top priority is to modify motorcycle engine to serve our purposes. Basically it means making the engine lighter and more powerful without forgetting reliability.

Describe the season from your point of view?

In the beginning of the season, cad modelling and the innovation of improvements starts.  

By the turn of the year the designs have usually been simulated/modeled. The execution of plans begins. When the car has been physically assembled we begin to do multiple power dynamometer measurements to get the cars adjustments for engine control unit as good as possible. As the snow melts, we head to the track and test the engine's nature and usability even more. During the summer we travel to the competitions, present our ideas and their execution to the judges, and of course race! 

This season we are facing some major changes. We have decided to change the Aprilia 550cc V2 engine that has served us for a long time to a single cylinder Yamaha. With this change we pursue a big save in weight and better reliability for the upcoming season. As a result of the huge amount of work the engine change is bringing us, we made an exception to have two heads of department. This year the biggest chances made along with the engine are a new exhaust- and intake manifolds. Cooling and fuel systems are being refined from those used last season. 

Why to choose the engine department?

Olli: In this department you learn a lot about engines and how to improve engine's performance. Some of our applicants have a strong history of fixing and building vehicles, but in this team you learn a whole lot of new ways how to use your skills in designing and building a racing vehicle.

Henri: I had most knowledge about engines when I joined the team, so it felt very natural to choose it. In hindsight it might have been more challenging to choose some other department and to gain more insight in them.

In the engine department there is also Joni Tuononen (vehicle engineering), Petteri Pirhonen (vehicle engineering), Pyry Laakso (vehicle engineering) and Mikael LĂ©man (vehicle engineering).