CORVALLIS, Ore. - The Formula SAE racing team at Oregon State University recently became only the third team in history to win back-to-back national championships, following a competition at the Michigan International Speedway.
The win was even more dominant than the victory in 2010, as the OSU team won the three most prestigious aspects of the competition – engineering design, endurance, and the overall win, along with eight other awards. They were far ahead of the second place team from the Technical University of Munich.
“The team took the winning design from last season and made it better,” said Anthony Casson, one of the team members. “Our engineers changed exactly what they needed to change, nothing more.”
“We surprised a lot of people last year in Michigan, both in terms of results and in terms of our unique international structure, so this year was a chance to prove we could sustain the performance,” he said. “Scoring 954 points was very impressive and it more than proved our worth. It represents our commitment to excellence as students and as competitors.”
OSU’s “Global Formula Racing” team, which is composed mostly of students from the College of Engineering, has an international partner in this competition, Duale Hochschule Baden-Wurttemberg-Ravensburg of Germany. Students from the two universities collaborate to build a car to enter both in U.S. and European Union competitions.
Formula SAE racing is a major international sport that attracted 99 teams to the Michigan event, from the U.S., Austria, Brazil, Canada, Germany, India, Mexico, Singapore, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The competitions are extremely popular in Europe, where almost every university sponsors a team.
The cars are judged in many areas, including cost, innovation, acceleration, fuel economy, and others. OSU has been highly successful in recent years, routinely beating teams from universities in the Midwest that have been the historic home of the automotive industry.
Students spend thousands of hours working on the cars, adjusting designs and optimizing their performance. In the process they develop skills in aerodynamics, chassis construction, and mechanical engineering, but also fund raising, business development and other tasks. The project management and teamwork skills students learn in the competitions are highly valued by many companies and frequently lead to job offers, educators say.
Formula SAE racing is organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers.