When a few university professors got together 20 years ago to start a very informal SAE student design competition then known as Mini Indy, I doubt that any of them expected their efforts would change the world of motor racing and the lives of thousands of young men and women. Today this program, renamed Formula SAE ®, has become the world championship for college engineering students, and the training program for race car engineers and designers around the world. Teams from as far away as Korea, Japan and Mexico travel to the suburbs of Detroit each May for the big event. Satellite events have begun in the United Kingdom and Australia. Each year as many as 4,000 students are members of Formula SAE teams at universities around the world. Nearly 2,000 make the trip to the competition itself. The impact of this program on these student engineers is significant - even life-changing. Because of their experience, many will be hired into fast track jobs in the auto industry. Others will catch the dream and go to work for the top racing teams in CART, Formula 1, IRL and other racing series. Nearly all will look back on Formula SAE as the most challenging and rewarding of their college experiences. How strongly does Formula SAE touch those involved in it? Ask Alan Gruner, team captain of the Michigan State team in 1995, and now a systems analyst with an e-business company in California. Alan was so affected by his Formula SAE experience that he sat down and wrote the equivalent of an English term paper on getting started in Formula SAE, then posted his work on the web as a resource for all those future engineers who accept the challenge to get involved. As a result of his Formula SAE experience, he has also become an avid autocrosser. With Alan's permission, we offer his suggestions from the SAE Motorsports Engineering website. To make this an even more useful resource, we're encouraging others who have gone through the Formula SAE experience to add to Alan's work - to share their suggestions and their stories. Our goal is to make this a living resource to everyone who starts down the road to build a Formula SAE car and make it to the big show. Good luck! The Motorsports Team at SAE International Introduction Congratulations! If you are reading this it means that you have committed to being involved in some way with the Formula SAE competition. This manual is primarily for students though it will be valuable to other team stakeholders as well. It is recommended that you read through the whole document. All of the topics covered are here for a reason. Most everything here has been learned the hard way. Purpose: This manual is being written to help Formula SAE teams organize and successfully complete their car projects. It was originally written to help my old Formula team document the
problems that were encountered and solutions that we devised for them. A great deal of knowledge was graduating with team members every year. Knowledge about how to get things done at a university, what are reasonable goals for a team, and where to find resources had to be learned from scratch by incoming officers and team members. This second edition is designed to help new teams successfully launch a new FSAETM program or improve an existing one. It is my hope that FSAETM teams will expand and refine these ideas as they learn more. My aim is to provide guidance in the process issues of organizing people, money and other resources for the purpose of competing in Formula SAE. There are a lot of good books on the technical aspects of vehicle design. I am not going to duplicate the content here. This document is divided into roughly two sections. The first section deals with how to run the organization and includes topics like fund raising and recruiting. The second section deals with some design lessons learned the hard way, design and construction hints, and preparation for the competition. Reading both sections is recommended as many...
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