By Joseph Muldoon
The Cal Poly Formula Race Team placed fifth overall in a Society
of Automotive Engineers international competition held at Ferrari
Fiorano Racetrack in northern Italy Sept. 21-23.
Formula SAE is a competition in which student teams design,
build and race small, single-seat racecars.
The Cal Poly team was the only American team to take part in
this year’s formula event.
“We got the longest distance traveled trophy,” said Andrew
Phillips, a second-year mechanical engineering student.
Cal Poly was one of more than 20 teams from around the globe
taking part in the event.
“We competed against some of the top teams in Europe,” said
Andrew Tan, a third-year mechanical engineering student.
The formula team saw the event as more than just a race. It was
an opportunity for Cal Poly students to meet other teams and
prominent members of the automotive industry from around the
“We shook hands with some important people,” said Tan.
Some of the judges present at this year’s competition were
Massimo Ceccarani, a technical director at Lamborghini, Paolo Coeli
of the Fiat research center, and Aldo Costa, head of design and
development for the Ferrari Formula I team.
The team was able to accomplish as much as it did this year due
in part to the success students had with raising funds.
“They raised $100,000,” said Clifford Stover, a mechanical
engineering lecturer and faculty advisor for the team. “It was the
largest effort for the formula SAE race team.”
“Our budget is three times what it was, and that was all
fundraising,” said Jose Gonzalez, a fourth-year mechanical
The donations were made up of approximately $60,000 in cash and
another $40,000 in donated materials, according to Stover.
“We need to sell the car. The more we do, the better we do,”
said Phillips. “Quite a few of our designs are financially
According to the team, the additional money and materials
allowed them to design and build a more successful racecar.
“With more money we can use more complex manufacturing processes
for a lighter, faster vehicle,” said Gonzalez.
The money collected also allowed the team to travel to more
events this year than in previous years. The experience the team
gained at these events was instrumental in the success in Italy,
according to Gonzalez.
The formula SAE competition is made up of six different events.
Each team must compete in design, acceleration, skid pad,
autocross, and endurance, and the team must prepare a presentation
in which they market the car to a manufacturer.
“We finished top five in every event except acceleration,” said
Every year the Cal Poly formula SAE team designs and builds a
racecar for the current season. The team is open to all students at
“We are always looking for dedicated members from all
disciplines to contribute to our goal of another first place win,”
The team is thankful those who contributed to their success.
“We would not be able to offer our students the opportunity to
be involved in so many great programs within the engineering
projects facility if it was not for the mechanical engineering
departments interest and support,” said Stover. “And the College of
Engineering dean’s office for recognizing how important it is for
engineering students to have more than just classroom theory within
Racing team rolls in Italy
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