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UNT team gears up for Formula SAE competition

UNT team gears up for Formula SAE competition

Engineering sophomore David Bounds trims metal piping at the Mechanical lab in Discovery Park. The team hopes to have the full racecar finished by Spring Break. Photo By Zac Switzer/Staff Photographer

UNT team gears up for Formula SAE competition
January 16
21:46 2013

Trent Johnson

Senior Staff Writer

While most of the UNT student body went home for the break, a group of 30 went to work. The UNT Mean Green Racing Team ventured to Discovery Park to create a racecar for the university’s first Formula Society of Automotive Engineers competition June 19 in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Formula SAE is a student competition that challenges college students globally to build a racecar from the ground up. Students from different majors began working on designs for the car in April. With early plans finished, the actions of transforming drawings into a physical racecar have been under way since December. The team is currently on pace for the competition.

Contest restrictions include rules from the type of engines teams can use to the safety requirements for each vehicle, said Matthew Ellis, team president and mechanical engineering senior.

Bob Woods, racing team director and a University of Texas at Arlington mechanical engineering professor, gave the team pointers on what to expect and difficulties they will encounter.

“There are enormous technical challenges in design, selections of parts and components,” Woods said. “There’s also a huge challenge in organization and management and that’s where most people fall apart.”

The team’s budget was $48,000 in donations from sponsors or fundraiser earnings, and the team had to make sacrifices regarding the engine and body. Costs are included in the competition because teams will be judged on how much money they spent.

“We’re not just judged on our design,” Ellis said. “You’re judged on what you did during the design and the things that set yourself apart from other teams such as costs, so every hole we drill costs money.”

The team will decide its driver based on the fastest driving time and the amount of work an individual contributed.

Other aspects of the competition include how quickly the team built the car, a presentation on how the team would sell its vehicle and an endurance test for the sturdiness of the creation. This allows people from non-engineering backgrounds to contribute as much as the engineers.

“The good thing about what we’re doing on the formula team is that people from different majors can all get together and work on this project,” said team member and mechanical engineering junior Michael Stoddard. “We’re trying to put UNT on the map for a big project in engineering.”

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