Formula SAE is a student design competition organized by SAE International (formerly Society of Automotive Engineers). The competition was started back in 1978 and was originally called SAE Mini Indy. The concept behind Formula SAE is that a fictional manufacturing company has contracted a design team to develop a small Formula-style race car. The prototype race car is to be evaluated for its potential as a production item. The target marketing group for the race car is the non-professional weekend autocross racer. Each student team designs, builds and tests a prototype based on a series of rules whose purpose is both to ensure onsite event operations and promote clever problem solving. Formula SAE promotes careers and excellence in engineering as it encompasses all aspects of the automotive industry including research, design, manufacturing, testing, developing, marketing, management and finances. Formula SAE takes students out of the classroom and allows them to apply textbook theories to real work experiences.
Why students are building race cars ?
The Formula Student project offers us the opportunity to gain valuable experience in teamwork, time and project management, construction, assembly and the economic aspects of automotive engineering. Due to the regular team interaction we learn to handle the distinct group dynamic in an interdisciplinary group as well as to find a good balance between teamwork and individual progression. Our established theoretical knowledge is supplemented by extensive practical skills. So we can improve our professional qualifications and have a better occupational outlook.
How Businesses and Sponsors Benefit from the Competition ?
On top of that, the sponsoring helps to establish important contacts with potential employers, so that they are able to get a detailed picture of our qualities and skills. Notable German businesses like Audi, BMW, Bosch, DEKRA, IAV, MAHLE, SolidWorks, Toyota and ZF Friedrichshafen are already supporting Formula Student and with it an efficient and practical promotion of young engineers.
The Jury consisting of experts from the economy and automotive judge the following events:
Skidpad: The skid pad is a "figure 8" type track that tests the vehicles handling under high lateral g-forces. Two drivers each have two attempts to put down the fastest lap on the figure 8 track.
Acceleration: This event is a straight line test of vehicles acceleration through 75 meters. One driver has two attempts at this event, taking the fastest time for scoring.
Autocross: The autocross is a road course approximately 1 km long that two drivers each get two time trials on. Fastest trial of the four is used for both event scoring and placement in endurance race.
Endurance: The endurance race involves running 22 laps on a 1-kilometer road course with a driver switch and judge inspection after the first 11 laps. This event is worth more points than any other event in the competition. Vehicle fuel economy does play a role in the scoring of this event.
Business Plan Presentation: The objective of the presentation event is to evaluate the team’s ability to develop and deliver a comprehensive business case that will convince the executives of a corporation that the team’s design best meets the demands of the amateur, weekend competition market, and that it can be profitably manufactured and marketed.
Cost Analysis: The objectives of the Cost and Manufacturing Event are to teach the participants that cost and budget are significant factors that must be considered in any engineering exercise, for teams to make trade off decisions between content and cost based on the performance advantage of each part and assembly.
Design: The car that illustrates the best use of engineering to meet the design goals, a cost effective high performance autocross car, and the best understanding of the design by the team members will win the design event.
For Formula Student, students build a single seat formula race car with which they can compete against teams from all over the world. The competition is not won solely by the team with the fastest car, but rather by the team with the best overall package of construction, performance, and the financial and sales planning.
The competition challenges the team members to go to extra step in their education by incorporating into intensive experiencein building and manufacturing as well as considering the economic aspects of the automotive industry. Teams take on the assumptions that they are a manufacturer developing a prototype to be evaluated for production. The car must show very good driving characteristics such as acceleration, braking and handling. The car's market value must also be kept in mind with factors such as comfort and aesthetics, along with low cost and dependency.
The challenges the team face is to compose a complete package consisting of a well-constructed race car and a sale plan that best matches the given criteria. The decision is made by a jury of experts from the motosport, automotive and supplier industries. The jury will judge every team car and sales plan based on construction, cost planning and sales presentation. The rest of the judging will be done out on the track, where the students demonstratein a number of performance tests how well their self-built race cars fare in their true environment.