The total prize money is around Rs.1 million, officials of the Society Automotive Engineers (SAE) India told reporters on Thursday.
"Student teams from 87 colleges have entered the final stages of the SUPRA SAEINDIA Student Formula competition this year. It is not just a boys' event. There are two girls teams that are competing with their own race cars," said Rajesh Kumar, general manager for marketing and communications at Defiance Technologies Ltd.
According to SUPRA SAEINDIA convener S. Thirumalini, the event gives the students experience in designing as per specifications, sourcing of components, fabricating, costing and even marketing.
The students who participate in the competition have a definite edge over others in the job market as they gain practical experience - from designing a car to its launch and team work, said SUPRA SAEINDIA 2014 advisor N. Balasubramanian.
"The maximum allowable spend on building the car is Rs.10 lakh. Till date, the lowest cost at which a race car was built is Rs.1 lakh," Thirumalini said.
The weight of the cars also has come down over the past two editions.
"Over the past two events, the average weight of the cars has come down to 263 kg from around 400 kg due to use of different materials," Thirumalini said.
Unlike in the past two editions, where Maruti's 800cc engine was specified, this time the competing teams have to build their race cars with 610cc engines.
Over the next three days, the 87 race cars would be subjected to various kinds of tests - noise, brakes and endurance.
"The cars will be driven by a student team member at the Madras Motor Race Track near here. The cars will have to do five laps during which the time taken, fuel consumption and other parameters would be measured," said SAEINDIA deputy director general K. Shriramchandran.