The Virginia Tech Motorsports team participated in the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) collegiate competition, from May 10 – 15, at the Michigan International Speedway. For 35 years SAE has held an annual collegiate competition where teams from around the globe engineer, build, and operate an amateur, custom racecar.
"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 Website
The Hokie students have spent the last year developing the VTM16, in accordance with the rules, and in the spirit of the above quote. The VTM16 is a 450cc, single cylinder, 384 pound, open wheel, formula style vehicle.
The vehicles are rated on design, presentation, acceleration, skidpad, autocross, endurance, efficiency, and cost analysis. During the 2015 competition the Hokies’ overall result was No. 6! Unfortunately, due to an engine sensor issue VTM16 was unable to complete the autocross event and only finished two laps in the endurance event. As a result the Hokies were relegated to finish overall at 76th. Considering there were 138 vehicles competing it is a testament to how well the car and students performed prior to the technical difficulties that they were able to finish in the middle of the pack.
Design: Tied for 12th
Efficiency: Not Assessable
Endurance Laptime: 83.232 seconds (best)
Although it is disappointing that the car suffered a prohibitive technical setback, the Formula SAE competition remains a fantastic opportunity for Virginia Tech students to develop and compete in formula style automotive competition. Best of luck next year!