UW Takes 3rd Place at Formula SAE California
On the third weekend in June, Wisconsin Racing was again able to put the talents of the WR-211 on display, this time in the sunshine of Southern California. Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA welcomed 61 Formula SAE teams from eight different nations for the sixth and final year. This was the first Formula SAE West competition for Wisconsin Racing and the fourth different Formula SAE event Wisconsin has competed in of around 10 held across the world. The top five finishing teams are listed below.
1. Ecole De Technologie Superieure (Canada)
2. University of Oklahoma
3. University of Wisconsin - Madison
4. University of Maryland - College Park
5. University of Bath (England)
Here is a day by day recap of the competition.
After a 30 hour drive from Madison to Fontana the team arrived on Tuesday to recuperate slightly and then headed out to Auto Club Speedway for the first day of competition. After registering and setting up the paddock, the team prepared the car for technical inspection. At about 5pm the WR- 211 entered the tech area and was through without issue after about an hour. Right after, the WR- 211 was put on the scales and weighed in at 331 pounds making the car the lightest in competition! Overall, the most difficult part of the day on Wednesday for the team was growing accustomed to the scorching hot California weather. Luckily, peak temperatures were reached on Wednesday and things would get a little cooler the rest of the week.
Thursday was a jam packed day but overall went very well for the team. Right after arriving at the track the tilt test was completed followed by brake and noise tests. All were passed without issue. Following that the car was taken to the preliminary design round. After a solid performance in the design event in Michigan, the team went in with confidence and the judges were very receptive to the WR- 211. Later in the day, the announcement was made that Wisconsin had advanced to the design semifinal round with six other schools.
Other items on the docket for the day were the business presentation and the real case cost competition. The business presentation was not a highlight for the team but the cost event was and the team finished fifth in the event. Notably, the team was granted a perfect score on the real case portion where the judges quiz students about what they would do in a real case manufacturing setting to lower the cost of the vehicle.
Last for Thursday was the design semifinal round. Much to the delight of the teams involved, the event organizers moved up the time to 5pm instead of 7pm so there was no late night marathon session like at FSAE Michigan. After two hours the judged were " nished asking questions and the teams left the grounds for the day. The judges were extremely impressed with the powertrain and suspension but felt there was lack of justi" cation for the team not employing an aero package. The team received 120 pts and placed 5th in the design event.
After an early morning suspension setup, the car headed out to the skidpad and acceleration area. First up was a skidpad run by the team’s first driver followed by both driver’s acceleration runs and finally the last skidpad run. The best times turned for Wisconsin were a 5.179 for skidpad and a 4.319 for acceleration. These times were good for 7th and 18th place, respectively, in the events.
Up next was Friday afternoon’s autocross session. The track setup for Formula SAE California competitions traditionally favor teams employing aerodynamic packages. This competition was no different and 9 of the top 12 autocross spots were claimed by aero teams. The second driver for Wisconsin was able to turn in a 65.309 second lap resulting in a very respectable 7th place finish for the autocross event.
After tallying results at the end of the day, it was apparent with a good showing in the endurance event on Saturday the team would be heading to its second top five finish of the year.
The endurance competition was run in order of autocross place. Therefore, Wisconsin would be the 7th team out on the track in the morning. After watching a few of the top contenders fail out, apprehension was mounting as the WR-211 took the track. After an exciting 22 kilometers with the WR-211 passing multiple teams the endurance was completed!
All that was left now for the team was to wait for the rest of the endurance to be run and the results to be posted. After a few hours of grilling out and relaxing the endurance results were made available. The team had finished third place in endurance and third overall for the competition!
The WR-211 will continue to be tested throughout the summer and fall. There a few non-SAE sanctioned events that the car may compete in during September and October. Formula SAE California will next year become Formula SAE Lincoln and will be held at Lincoln Airpark in Nebraska. The team is excited to participate in this event which will be nearer to Madison. Overall, it was a very successful year for Wisconsin Racing and we cannot thank all sponsors enough for your support. Hopefully, the WR-212 can move further up the podium next year.