Formula SAE is the type of project where the more time you put in, the more you can gain from it. The team requires its members to attend weekly meetings, and to complete tasks allocated to its members. In short, we require commitment. With University life, there are always pressures from coursework, employment etc, and the team realise this, however with enough committed members, we are all able to complete the project as well as meet the demands of uni courses, work, etc.
For the most part, Formula SAE exists as an extra-curricular project, to provide hands on experience in your field of study, while still studying. There is the opportunity (depending on your study area) to complete a final year thesis or project based on a topic related to the car. Some example of past theses completed by team members are:
Not at all. As the team are required to manage all of our own marketing, budgeting, sponsorship, occupational health and safety & logistics planning, almost any area of study within the university has relevance to the FSAE project. Even within engineering, more than just mechanical engineering is required – for example, we have to create our own electrical systems & any automated systems, so electrical & mechatronic engineering students have also been heavily involved in the team.
Visit the team website (www.uqracing.com), and have a look at the ‘Join the team’ section. We have our prospective new member pack, which will provide further information of the team, the project and what we do. From there, contact the team using the ‘contact us’ section of the website, and tell us who you are, basic contact details (such as an email address), what you are studying, and any prior experience you may have that could be relevant to Formula SAE (although you don't have to have any experience yet!) – and the team will get back to you! UQR is always looking for enthusiastic, hard working and committed people to join us.
As much as possible. The uni encourages the team to produce as much as we can ourselves – we learn more this way, and also it tends to be cheaper. Obviously, some components are purchased and incorporated into our design – the engine block/head & internals (although the intake & exhaust is designed by the team), certain electrical components such as the ECU, pump controllers and traction control multiplexer, however the majority of the car is designed by the team, and manufactured with help from the University’s professional mechanical engineering workshop (for welding, machining, etc.), or produced by external companies. This includes the chassis, suspension members, uprights, and brake rotors).
Our drivers (and we need at least 4 of them) are all members of the team. We select the drivers based on prior experience, and how they perform in the car during testing – so we do trial drivers as part of our planning for the competition. FSAE drivers also require a minimum of a CAMS (Confederation of Australian Motorsport) Level 2S race licence. The amount of time contributed to the team by our team members also has a bearing on who gets the opportunity to drive.
Formula SAE exists to provide students with the chance to experience ‘hands-on’ work whilst still studying. This ‘hands-on’ experience, combined with decent performance in coursework, can assist to make you ‘stand out’ from the crowd when looking for employment when you graduate.
FSAE is also seen as an important experience for anyone looking at entering the Automotive or Motorsport Engineering fields. Add to this, it is also a fun an exciting way to apply the theory learnt in courses to a ‘real-life’ situation.
The rules of FSAE state that the car must be presented with a cost of less than US$25,000. Add to that the cost of travelling & entering the competition, marketing & promotions, around $40,000 is required to have a successful year (you can see why we need to find sponsorship on top of the support the Uni gives us!)