West Virginia University's Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources has allowed the Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department to have a program for young and developing engineering students called Formula SAE®. The WVU Formula SAE® Team is a highly devoted group consisting of 33 members this year. Last year, the WVU Formula SAE® Team competed at the international Formula SAE® Michigan Competition at Michigan International Speedway. The car finished 60th place out of 115 cars.
The main goal for the WVU Formula SAE® Team is
building a car to bring to, and be successful at competition. Building the Formula Car has a lot to offer. The process begins by
placing the students in an in-depth sudo-real life situation of project management. Then,
they have to dive right into the design budget. While completing this, the
students are beginning to determine what parts and components they want to use
through research and literature reviews. Finally, with that completed they can
begin the actual design process, and with a final design, begin fabrication and
building of the car. As you can see, Formula SAE® is very detailed and involves
a lot more than just building a car. It gives the students valuable experience
in the entire design process including research, financing, and hands on
experience through the building portion of the project. This project in turn
makes the students more valuable to future employers.
The Formula SAE® Michigan Competition included 3 static events and 5 dynamic events. The static events are broken down into Engineering Design, Presentation, and Cost Analysis. The goal of these events are to create a situation for engineering students to make executive decisions between conceptual engineering designs and the costs that go along with those decisions and present them in front of multiple company representatives like Polaris, Honda, Ford, GM, and many other automotive-based companies. All decisions made need to have a purpose with an engineering analysis to backup the decision, along with whether or not it is economically feasible for one's particular engineering decision. The dynamic events are broken down into Autocross, Skid-pad, Acceleration, and Endurance which focuses on overall economical efficiency of the car. The goal of these events are for the students to create a Miniature Formula 1 Car that can excel the best, not just in one area, but to be able to maximize the performance in all 5 areas at the same time in accordance to the latest Formula SAE® Rules.
Below are some videos of the 2014 WVU Formula SAE® Team at the Formula SAE® Michigan Competition. Drivers include Cameron Sutton in the Autocross Event and Tilt Table Test, Jacob Hill in the Skid-pad Event, and Adam James in the Endurance Race.
This year, the team has entered to compete in the Formula SAE® Michigan Competition in Michigan once again, with a goal of placing at least 20th. Of course, our goal is to be the best at the competition, but if we happen to fall short, the compensating milestone is no less than 20th place. We believe as a team that this is a realistic goal since the WVU Formula SAE® Team has restarted here at West Virginia University and excelling on a competitive collegiate level.
help achieve this goal, the team has been split up into 4 sub-teams:
Body, Chassis, Powertrain, Data Acquisition, and Suspension. With team members from the previous
years and a couple new members leading each sub-team, our team looks to help
further propel the restart of this program. Leaders include Kyle Brewster (Aero), Sammy Sayampanathan (
Suspension), Jerry Hardway (
Chassis), Cecilia Girolami (
Powertrain) and Ben Wallin (
Under the direction of Dr. Scott Wayne and Team Captain Mark Ziegler, the team is ecstatic to help represent West Virginia University and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in completing a highly competitive Formula SAE car using what we have learned throughout the Mechanical and Aerospace Curriculum and racing it at the Formula SAE® Michigan Competition.