2004 Formula SAE
AURORA'S SUN STRUCK ENGINEERS MEET PETROL HEADS OF FORMULA SAE
Sunday, 5 December 2004
Formula SAE, an international competition for university teams of budding engineers (involving the construction of a four wheel racing car) is alive and well in Australia. This competition was started by the Society of Engineers in the USA, but it has been such a good basis for learning practical design and construction skills that it has expanded to other countries, including Australia and New Zealand.
|Aurora 101 soaking up its fuel supply at Formula SAE|
The annual competition event in Australia was conducted in Melbourne from 2-5 December 2004. Altogether, 22 entries joined the competition, including 4 international entries. They faced a strenuous 7-part competition which evaluated Design, Presentation and four driving events.
Formula SAE is strongly supported by the four auto manufacturers operating in Australia; Ford, GM, Toyota and Mitsubishi. It's a perfect showcase for talented future automotive engineers, and many do progress to employment after completing university. Australia has a robust auto industry which has unique design and manufacturing capabilities. Its two top selling cars, Ford's Falcon and GM's Holden are unique products designed in Australia. About 30% of Australia's automotive output from both the car manufacturers and the auto parts suppliers are exported.
Stuart Charity, Executive Director of SAE Australasia welcomed the display of the world's best solar car at this event. The Aurora 101 display attracted a lot of interest from the attendant crowd and many people understood the similar design and engineering benefits between solar cars and Formula SAE projects.
|Stuart Charity pleased and relieved that it's the last day|
Our favourite team was RMIT University led by aero expert Simon Watkins. They won the presentation section and were placing well in all other categories leading up to the final and most important event, the Enduro. It was a close run between the Orbital sponsored University of Western Australia and the University of Wollongong, so the final event had its tensions.
|Christina from RMIT adjust the suspension for the final run of the competition|
In the end Wollongong took first place overall, RMIT was second only 1.5 points ahead of Western Australia. A nice spread of results from around Australia. Rochester Institute of Technology from the USA were the best of the international entries, finishing 5th.
|The University of Western Australia entry|
Many of the universities supporting Formula SAE activities also run solar car teams. On September 25, 2005 the next solar car world championship will 'whisper' out of Darwin on the 3010 km trip to Adelaide. We will see a predominantly international field all trying to corral the Dutch.
|Japanese students Yukio and Toshiki from Gotemba with Aurora treasurer |
Gordon Baker. Gotemba is home to GH Craft, the company that has produced
16 Japanese solar cars