by Barbara Black
Automotive engineering undergraduates stretch their skills by taking part
in international competitions, usually in the United States, for which
they face a specific challenge adapting a conventional vehicle
to run on alternate fuel, or creating a new vehicle that goes as fast
or as efficiently as possible.
At Concordia, students do this without the lavish support available to
some of their American competitors, using their own resources to construct
the car, get it to the competition, and house and feed their team. Nonetheless,
Concordias Formula SAE team did remarkably well at a competition
of 129 teams held in Detroit May 18-19. The team came 45th overall out
of 129, but came first for having the best-costed car, receiving
a plaque and a $500 cash prize.
Team member Rudy Chang said in an e-mail, Only one member had any
prior experience at this event. We came within three places of making
the design semifinals, in which we would have competed against the top
15 teams of the competition for the best-engineered car. Peter Silvano
and Frederick Guay presented the car with expertise to the judges.
We developed a car that was never really attempted before. Our linear
sliding pillar suspension was the talk of the competition, along with
other distinctive features.
One highlight was making the cut for the endurance race against
the best teams. Our two drivers were able to pass four cars before an
abrupt ending due to a loose hoseclamp holding the muffler with four laps
remaining. The second highlight was the fact Allen Stanford of Englands
Race Car Engineering magazine was so ecstatic about our car that
he spent 45 minutes interviewing our team. He plans to write an article
about Concordia SAEs formula car within the next two issues of Race
The team appreciate the generous help from sponsors Mechtronix, SKF, ECA
and Polaris Industries. As the result of their success, the team has acquired
some sponsorship for next year, and has fueled our lust to improve
our vehicle for years to come.