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Formula SAE?

1215 Views 8 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  Tom Cleary
So some folks at my school (MIT) started a Formula SAE team two years ago, with our first vehicle entry last year. I'm joining up this year, probably working on driver integration or project management and wondering if yall have any interesting links or knowledge of the competition or stories to share. Also, advice on places to hit up for sponsorships or tool/parts/funding donation would be much appreciated.
here's the website for our team if you're interested:

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re: sponsorships


if your ever looking for an engine management system for your Formula SAE car, these guys advertise a 15% discount to Universities etc.... working on SAE cars (halfway down the page under the "discounts" heading). I will more than likely go with them too for my upcoming turbo project (alas, without the discount) :). Good luck,

I need to go to a college that is involved in SAE programs. :eek:
Since there are quite a few teens and college-aged guys among our mk2 community, I'll give a plug for one of my favorite universities...The University of Texas at Arlington where I moonlight teaching GIS to grad students. I've met the professor over the FSAE program and some of the students involved. They sometimes bring their cars out to local autocross events for practice. Check them out. It looks like a cool program.

Phil D.
I was involved with the FSAE team at University of California at Santa Barbara, at least until they cut our funding and the whole student machine shop. I don't go there any more so I can share secrets. Make the driver sit up tall, you can't see if he's down low even though it may be more aerodynamic. Garrett will offer free turbos to the schools out here so they are worth a shot. Try running compressed air in the frame from a small compressor on board, then release it into the intake when you start the straights. I'm not quite sure about the legality of this as we never got to test it, but it was a cool idea. Try running a small engine that will use something much closer to the 20mm restrictor as it's normal intake. It will run more smoothly and in it's power band as opposed to a full 600cc engine running at less than half power due to the restrictor. Our engine normally used 4 30mm intakes and we had to put all the intake air through that one tiny 20mm restrictor. If you don't want to machine your own restrictor find one off a road race car, they are very well engineered in terms of flow characteristics and cheap if you know someone in the racing scene. Don't bother with ram air, it's poinless. Don't run the exhaust right behind the driver, it gets really really hot, trust me. Put a radiator in the front of the car and run aluminum piping to the back, it will cool much better and allow you to have a large coolant capacity. Motorcycle/four wheeler parts are great.

I'm sure you'll have a much much larger team and a huge budget but those are some things we learned working with a team of 8-10 people and a budget of about $7000 a year. I'm also pretty sure that you guys have had numerous FSAE teams in the past, it's a pretty popular project. Good luck with it and I hope you get to drive the thing when it's done.
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dude, compressed air in the frame? that's awesome... :) yeah, I'm not too sure if MIT has actually run teams in the past. there doesn't seem to be any record of it. all the funding thus far has been donated by different departments and a couple of sponsors from what I've gathered. I'll be helping out a lot in our funding drive this year. hoping to gather up enough cash to get more nifty tools and purchase all materials in advance next year. We're definitely hoping this will expand here, but the team just went from 10-12 ppl to 25 or so. MIT tends to kill your schedule though, so it's anyones guess as to how many can stick with it all year. Looking at what they did last year, they ran a diffuser back from the restrictor into this truly bizarre dual plenum intake manifold. I guess it got them equal length runners into each cylinder though. Hopefully the entire vehicle will be drawn up in cad in another month. My goals though are to start off with funding and parts suppliers so we don't lose so much money to mcmaster and to hunt down a faculty advisor so we can weasle some credit out of doing this. :-D

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Hell yeah, McMaster is absolutely awesome. You should be able to get one unit for every four hours of work you put in each week and as long as you show up a lot and do your share you always will get a good grade for it, if you take it for a letter grade that is. Seriously though, look into smaller engines that make around 60hp normally and I bet you'd be the star of the team. Well, assuming you could find one that would work in that application.

.. so you're at the 'Tute eh? You take your swim test yet? LOL

I remember those days of walking through the Infinite Corridor.. eyes barely open due to all-nighters.

As far as I remembered, MIT had a race team of one form or another. They were more experimental than anything. Guess they are now into the FSAE.

But then again.. a lot has changed since I graduated.

Course XIV '91
bwahaha, I'm a super-senior and I have yet to take the swim test... I keep meaning to do that... haven't had an all-nighter since well, finals last year, but it's early yet in the term. :) I'm currently a "damn sloanie/course XV/slacker" but at the moment it just so happens I'm working on a pset for 14.05... finish this class and my HASS concentration is settled... hooray for course XIV...

Anyways, if MIT once had a race team, perhaps I should check into this. Might be cool to see if any of them turned into 'lifers' and are interested in being our advisor(s). I was surprised that a couple of undergrads had just started the FSAE team, but I guess these sorts of things vary in popularity over time so perhaps they just disbanded before we got here.

Course XV '04 (hopefully)
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