2014 Formula SAE-A Competition

Racing on the Thunderdome

: The 2014 Formula SAE-A competition was held at Calder Park Raceway in Melbourne, on 11 – 14 December

Circuit length:
2.57 miles/4.14km Grand Prix Circuit
1.44miles/2.31 km National Circuit
1.00 miles/1.609km Club Circuit
1.8 miles/1.119 km Thunderdome oval
Quarter-mile dragstrip


Participating Universities

                  University of  Newcastle                   Edith Cowan Univesity
                  University of Adelaide                     Sophia University                   
                  RMIT University                            University of Canterbury
                  Swinburne University of  Technology        Dankook University
                  University of Western Australia            Tokyo Denki University
                  The University of Melbourne                University of Sydney
                  Tokai University                           Chandigarh Engineering College
                  University of Waikato                      James Cook University
                  University of Queensland                   University of Tasmania
                  Queensland University of Technology        University of  Auckland
                  Monash University                          Warsaw University of Technology
                  RMIT University                            University of New South Wales
                  University of Wollongong                   Curtin University    

Over three days in December, Melbourne's Calder Park Raceway hosted the 2014 Formula SAE-A competition, sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The leading twenty-one Australasian mechanical and electrical engineering university student teams came together to unveil their ability to build small, high-performance race cars that are suitable for mass production and sale to the amateur autocross market. The teams are judged over three static and five dynamic events in which they showcase their cost effective, well designed and presented vehicles.

With the support of RS, through the provision of electronic and electrical components, the students are creating a modern equivalent of the race car to not only rival but to one day exceed the tried and proven traditional methods.

This is the 11th year Curtin Motorsport Team (CMT) has competed in the Formula SAE-A competition - The main tactic this year was to increase their team size and skill level. The entry was a 179kg car powered by a Honda CBR600RR expecting approximately 84hp at the rear wheels combined with an aerodynamic package with servo actuated DRS (Drag Reduction System). CMT's scoring for the event is as follows - presentation event 50.04 points, design event 113 points and cost analysis event scoring 64 points. The dynamic events produced the following results - acceleration event 54.3 points with their best time at 4.218 seconds over 75 meters, skidpan event 49.3 points, autocross 89.6 points and the endurance and efficiency events scoring a total of 284 points which placed CMT in sixth overall with a total of 723.2. CMT was also presented the best sounding car award at the end of the weekend.

The University of Wollongong (UOW) has participated in this event since 2000. Every year the students create a small business within the university to produce a car. This year the 25 UOW students have incorporated even more real world 3D printing applications into the race car production than ever before. UOW also state that they are nowhere near the full potential of using the 3D printers yet. Entered into the event this year was a machine weighing in at 270kg, sporting a Honda CBR600RR motor with 58kw of maximum power @ 10400 rpm and 55Nm of maximum torque @ 8500 rpm a small, light-weighted open wheeled racing car was developed. Placing 10th this year with a total of 504.80 points here is a quick rundown of the scores produced over the weekend - design 115, cost analysis 60.2, business presentation 40.4, acceleration event 37.2 with the fastest run @ 4.616 seconds over the 75 meters, autocross 80.1, skidpan 32.9 and endurance and efficiency 139 points.

For over a decade the students from Swinburne University of Technology have entered the Formula SAE-A competition. This year showed almost 40 Team Swinburne students arrived with their entry of ts_14 - A full electric race car that provides dramatic sustainability benefits allowing the team to achieve the status of 100% carbon neutral. This car boasts 70kw of maximum power @ 1300rpm and a maximum torque of 520Nm @ 0-1300rpm from a Twin Enstroj EMRAX LC 228 engine, 1:1 rear drive train package in a composite monocoque frame on 10 inch wheels. This certainly helped Team Swinburne coming in first electric in Acceleration with 35.9 points and a best time of 4.673 over the 75 meter acceleration track and a 4th place in the business design event. The team however placed 12th overall at the end of the event with a total of 470.60 points.

The Redback Racing students of the University of NSW (UNSW) only managed to compete in the static events this year due to what looked like rather complicated issues with the mechanics of the car entered over the weekend. This unfortunately placed them in 21st position at the end of the competition with a total of 237.3 points over the three events they managed to compete in. Hopefully next year brings some better luck to this team who worked extremely hard, some evenings well past any reasonable bed time!

The event concluded with an awards presentation for the teams that took part over the weekend. The champions of the weekend were Monash Motorsport from Monash University who took first place with an impressive 915.5 points and numerous other awards including the Harry Watson "Efficient Performance" Award and 1st places for Overall Performance, Engineering Design, Endurance, Autocross, Skidpad and Business Presentation.

It was very refreshing to see all teams involved working so well together, not just within their own team, but with the other teams competing also - in what is always a competitive sport, they kept it on the race track. Off the track everyone helped out where they could, enabling other teams to continue to complete and making it a great weekend for everyone involved in the 2014 Formula SAE-A Competition.