Team Auj, the first all-female team to attend international Formula Student (FS) competition — the competition makes available a platform where creative and ambitious youthful designers from around the world can participate and inspire others to pursue engineering as a profession — were awarded by Race Tech Magazine and presented with Race Tech Spirit of Formula Student Award in July 2018, for building their own 90 horsepower Formula Student car from scratch, with an aim to reach 0 to 100 in 4.5 seconds. This multidisciplinary team of talented Nustians comes from fields ranging from Industrial Designers, Electrical Engineers and Business Administrators worked as one unit, with one goal in mind — to break the label ‘Girls Cannot Drive.’
The name Auj, means the highest point of something. It was inspired by the tradition of Swiss teams which name their Formula One race cars after the highest Swiss mountains.
The team started out strong with over fifteen volunteers, at the end however, it trimmed down to 10 females, due to the immense work load from the university and the project itself. Nevertheless, this did not stop the fearless 10 — Azka Athar (Team Lead), Aatrah Rauf Shaikh (Marketing Manager and Designer), Harim Akhtar (Marketing Manager and Designer), Fatima Sohail (Director and Team Manager), Cybil Braganza (Human Resource Manager), Zobia Noor (Marketing Manager), Wardah Jamal, Laiba Rodyna (Marketing Manager), Syeda Alaima Zahra (Marketing Executive) and Sabah Zaman (Marketing Manager and Designer) — who aspired to accomplish what everyone thought was definitely an unachievable dream. These girls are a perfect example of “Pakistani women can achieve anything they set their heart and mind to.”
Team Auj, represented Pakistan on the race track with Naltaar 199, which made it to Silverstone Circuit, UK with broken wings but still managed to become the center of attention because of its retro engine. These single seater formula student cars were tested on their fuel economy, endurance, acceleration, design dynamics, skid pad etc.
The initiative taken by these young Pakistani students from National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), raising female participation in motor-sports has become momentous, not only for females at home but abroad as well.The team aims to encourage young talented females to come forth and to leave a mark in what is perceived by the
Team Auj, represented Pakistan on the race track with Naltaar 199, which made it to Silverstone Circuit, UK with broken wings but still managed to become the center of attention because of its retro engine.
society as a male-dominated field. Driving and racing cars have always been deemed as a male sport thus battling discrimination was a huge part of their learning experience. Cybil Braganza tells us that the team’s main supporter apart from their families and friends was Café Garage, an automobile themed café, who lent the workshop where the team assembled Naltaar 199. The girls faced criticism from their peers in the beginning. “This was not a surprise,” says Azka Athar, “Criticism is a part of the learning experience. Our critics made us strong as they helped us improve and eventually the same people were cheering for us at the finish line.”
Fatima Sohail shares, “We were well-aware of the difficulties the team had to face. Team Auj was a hard nut to crack. We fought where it was necessary because we believed in ourselves. There were gloomy days as well, when we had no finances to continue work on Naltaar 199 — lack of funds was definitely a major issue. On such days our Team
The girls ’ aim was not to land a position against 30 other teams in the competition, they were motivated to create social impact and encourage the female youth to embrace their creativity.
Lead played an impressive role by not giving up, seeing her fight inspired us to continue with our efforts. She is the heart of Team Auj.” Due to lack of funds the team made more than a few adjustments to their original design of Naltaar 199. The initial design was grossed at 19 lakhs, the finished design however, was completed in 4 lakhs.
With hundreds of remarkable students participating in Europe’s educational engineering competition, Formula Student competition became a stepping stone for these Pakistani girls. Embracing their cultural identity in their design, they have proved through their hard work, strategy and resilience that they are deserving of immense acclaim for being one of the many advocates of social development in Pakistani universities. The girls’ aim was not to land a position against 30 other teams in the competition, they were motivated to create social impact and encourage the female youth to embrace their creativity. Wardah Jamal explains that the team wants to promote youth development and women empowerment. Women are competing in fields that have traditionally been restricted to males. Team Auj is an all-female team cutting, grinding, welding and networking just like
...It is important that such initiatives be supported not after they achieve success but when they are still aspiring to do so.
any other formula student teams. The team wants Auj to have more support — both financial and moral — in future.
There is no doubt that the team was able to create a strong PR for themselves later on, during and after the competition, but it is important that such initiatives be supported not after they achieve success but when they are still aspiring to do so. Coming from different disciplines these girls, are extremely optimistic about what the future holds for them and what they could do for others who want to follow in their footsteps. On one hand, they want to pursue their studies further and on the other hand, they want to build, train and mentor their juniors who will replace them as members of Auj. Azka Athar wants to continue working on Naltaar 199, in the incubation centers of NUST so as to bring recognition to females who want to pursue engineering as a profession. Sabah Zaman remembers her experience at Silverstone Circuit saying, “It was a five-day event and we loved every
second of it! At that time, we were just a team with a running car. Five days later we became the first all-girls team from Pakistan to build a Formula Student Race Car, with a better plan for the next year and years to come, along with a Race Tech Spirit of Formula Student Award!” Team Auj aims to build the best motorsports team in Pakistan.HH
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