Formula SAE is a student design competition that was started in 1979 and was initially modelled on a similar student design competition called Baja SAE. After a few failed attempts and some rule changes to increase the scope of the project, the Formula SAE series was born.
The premise of the competition is that a fictional company is developing a prototype small open wheel race car which is targeted at the non-professional weekend racer. Your team acts as a consultant firm, and is tasked to bring your best design to the competition - where it will be comprehensively compared against your competitors. The design and fabrication of these small open wheel race cars is guided by the Official Formula SAE rules which ensure safety as well as to promote ingenuity amongst students. There are now more than 12 competitions around the world including the United States of America, Germany, UK, Brazil, Japan and Australasia.
Acceleration - 100 Points
Skid Pad - 75 Points
Autocross - 125 Points
Endurance - 275 Points
Efficiency - 100 Points
Engineering Design - 150 Points
Cost - 100 Points
Presentation - 75 Points
A 0-75m straight line test of your longitudinal acceleration.
A figure-8 course to evaluate the car’s constant-radius cornering ability.
Single, timed laps on an auto-cross (tight turns, penalties for cone hits) style course to evaluate the car’s maneuverability and overall handling characteristics.
A 22km stint of the autocross circuit, with a driver change mid-way as a test of the vehicle’s (and often driver’s) reliability and endurance. An economy score is determined from your fuel-use or accumulator charge during this event, and a large number of points are allocated to reward designs that are both fast and efficient.
Part of the Endurance test, points are awarded based on the energy efficiency of the car.
This requires the submission of a cost report detailing the total cost of manufacturing your car, and a presentation at the competition.
This requires both the submission of a design report detailing the main criteria of how the car was designed, and a detailed technical presentation at competition.
This involves a presentation to a panel of executives to explain the business case for your car, detailing how it best suits the demands of the amateur weekend racing market.
This involves 4 tests; rules compliance, rain test (ensuring vehicles are safe to operate in rain), brake test (ensuring all wheels have adequate braking force to lock), and tilt test (ensuring the car in stable in high lateral acceleration and that no fluid systems leak). These tests are in place to ensure that the car is safe not only for the driver but also for the spectators. No points are awarded, but vehicles must pass technical inspection before being allowed to compete in dynamic events.