At this year's Engineering and Computer Science orientation, students enjoyed more than hot dogs, burgers and camaraderie, they also had the chance to get into the cockpit of a professional Formula 1 simulator and experience the adrenalin of race car driving. The Engineering and Computer Science Association (ECA), which represents 4,000 students in the Faculty, brought the simulator to campus for the first time. Judging from students' reaction, the event gave the school year a very special kick-off.
"It's like nothing else from the minute you put your foot down," enthused Joseph Estevez, just stepping down from the simulator after having put in one of the morning's best lap times. Estevez is a student in mechanical engineering. "You actually feel everything moving. When you hit a wall, you feel it. It really shakes you up."
Planning for bringing the simulator to campus began in June. Ali Talhouni, president of the Engineering and Computer Science Association, was delighted to see his association's logistical preparations and event organization pay off. As students started to line up en masse for their turn at the wheel, the morning rain cleared up, the sun came out, and spirits were high.
"Today, engineering students get to see the exact simulator that Formula 1 pilots really use," explained Paul-André Begin, business development manager for the National Bank, the sponsor of the simulator's visit to campus. "The level is at 'entertainment' so that everyone can enjoy it."
Dianna-Carolina Bocsanczy, an industrial engineering student, set a great lap time, but not without some thrills and spills along the way. "I started spinning around, so my car went in the wrong direction," she said, laughing. Dianna's academic focus is on sustainability in mechanics - for example fuel efficiency, weight and aerodynamics, all of which she noted as key elements in building a successful race car.
Joseph Estevez summed up everyone's feelings when he said, "This is great - I think they should do this every year."