Students get on track with race car design competition

By Matthew Ward

Cal Poly Pomona is contending internationally in Formula One car
design competitions through the Formula Society of Automotive
Engineers, a student led organization that enables individuals to
gain knowledge and hands-on experience in the complete
manufacturing process of a racecar.

Students are also given the opportunity to learn about the inner
workings of obtaining corporate sponsorships and how to organize
team events among other things.

Cal Poly Pomona ranks 27th out of the nearly 500 worldwide
universities competing and is the #1 formula racing team in
California; beating out neighboring schools such as UC Berkeley and
San Diego State.

Every year FSAE continues to rebuild and revise their vehicle
design in order to remain competitive. Intense competition may lead
some to believe that the Formula One experience is dangerous.

“[FSAE] is not about racing, it is a design competition,” said
Clifford Stover, FSAE’s faculty advisor. “The events are four-day
design events where international teams present sales, marketing,
engineering, manufacturing, etc. The final day is where the cars
compete on the track for time, never wheel to wheel.”

FSAE might sound like a lot of fun, but be aware that it is no
walk in the park.

“In a normal week, I would dedicate approximately 30-40 hours a
week, given my leadership and design roles,” said Ross Stringham, a
fourth-year mechanical engineering student and FSAE Lead Design
Captain. “The team consists of 15 core designers with a lead design
captain, responsible for making sure all the designs [on the
vehicle] work well together.”

An engineering background is preferable but all majors are
welcome to join, even for students that don’t know anything about
cars in general.

Good GPA, good people skills, an interest in the mobility
industry and a passion for teamwork are other requirements Stover
recommended.

Despite what some may think, the goal of the club is not to
simply win competitions.

“As a team, I want to grow in numbers,” said Stringham. “Many
experienced members are graduating or participating in their last
season, myself included. We want to pass down our knowledge and not
lose our momentum.”

Several students can attest to the unusual sights and sounds of
seeing a racecar in person.

“I remember seeing them test their vehicle in the K-Lot earlier
this year,” said Jeff Sumida, a third- year communications student.
“It seemed pretty intense and exhilarating from the look of things,
definitely a cool event.”

The team is eligible to compete in venues and events across the
world but budgetary constraints could hinder the team’s ability to
participate internationally as they did in previous years.

“[My favorite memory with FSAE was] in 2007, when we competed
against some of the best teams in the world in Italy at the Ferrari
Test track,” Stringham said. “We placed 5th and I’m very pleased
with that performance [“] we learned a great deal from the best of
the best.”

Students interested can attend FSAE’s weekly Thursday meetings
at U-hour in Building 9, room 219.

Team manager, David Whitaker, is currently accepting resumes at:
dawhitaker@csupomona.edu.

“The resumes are not meant to evaluate skills, more to give us
an idea about you and how you can help the team,” said
Stringham.

The next FSAE West event will take place at Cal Speedway in
Fontana on June 16-19, 2010.

Reach Matthew Ward at: lifestyle@thepolypost.com

Students get on track with race car design competition

Courtesy of FSAE

Students get on track with race car design competition

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