Starting today, the University of Washington Formula Motorsports team is competing with teams from across the globe at the Formula West competition in Lincoln, Nebraska. The team will pit our internal combustion and electric cars against other collegiate teams from the USA and International engineering schools.
With a backdrop of blue skies, the first day of competition, June 18, will have preliminary technical inspections and opening ceremonies to round out the day.
One of the main difficulties for the UW team is that we are one team with two cars, meaning that there is only a few minutes between some of the combustion car and electric car events - keeping us always on our toes.
By Saturday, June 21, all of the teams who competed during the preceding days will find out what their hard work has earned them.
Last year, the UW team left Lincoln placed 1st overall for our combustion car and 2nd overall for our electric. This year, we hope to take home all of the first place trophies.
Two days after our massive Unveiling celebration, where we showcased the new combustion and electric vehicles, the UW Formula Motorsports team took the combustion car to the Red Square Car Show.
Every year the Sigma Phi Eplison, Northwest Auto Salon, and Cats Exotics copresent this car show for the benefit of PAWS. With the teams' registration paid, we rolled out our cars to a very different audience.
"I just love seeing the work that people put into these, so my absolute favorite car would be the one that was actually put together by UW, the students here," said Randy G. Smith, manufacturing engineer for Boeing Flight Test. "Ninety students supported by all these companies in the Pacific Northwest and build a race car. That thing was cool."
While there were plenty of other cars to choose from (including, but not limited to, Audi R8s, Ariel Atoms, and various styles of Lamborghinis and Ferraris) it was the UW team that consistently had a circle of inquisitive minds about the little car – more than even the red Ferrari F430.
On Thursday, May 1, the team released their combustion and electric vehicles at their annual unveiling, along with a video tribute to the 25 years the team has inspired engineering students at the UW.
While the night’s unveiling events were primarily about showcasing the cars and the new technologies being deployed, it was also about celebrating the students who have dedicated an entire year’s worth of effort into these two vehicles. All of the nearly 90 students comprising the UW Formula Team got their moments on stage to honor their accomplishments, and there were also other speakers that praised the efforts of the students.
Per Reinhall, Chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department at the UW, spoke during the Unveiling and recounted on the history of the UW Formula Team and the evolution of the team from a hobby club to a training ground that creates well-rounded engineering, business, and communications students.
"This is a great day for the ME Department," said Reinhall. "I can't really understate or overstate the impact of this program to the department, it's an amazing orgazination, a well oiled machine...It's a truly amazing endeavor."
Of course, our unveiling would not have been successful if not for the help of our many sponsors and Selfstarter crowdfunding donors who funded our automotive dreams, who got their chance up on stage (as per our promise during the Selfstarter!). Without these people on stage, there would be no cars for them to stand next to. The students wouldn't have had the opportunity to create, to learn, to become the engineers and leaders of tomorrow. It is only because of their support that we can do what we do at the level we compete at.
Want another chance to see our new cars vefore we head off to competition in Lincoln, Neb. and Hockenheim, Germany? The new eCar will be heading out to an upcoming gathering of electric cars on Sunday, May 11, in Issaquah at XXX Rootbeer from 9 am to 3 pm. And don’t forget to sign up for the DawgDash AutoX coming up on May 18 in Shelton, Wash.
We hope to see everyone out in support of us at a few of our upcoming appearances.
If you missed the Unveiling, check it out in full on our YouTube site - from beginning to end.
This year the UW Formula Motorsports team has a new sub-team, called the Composites Manufacturing, Research & Development Team, even though we've been using composites for many years. Last year, composites were used liberally in both the combustion and electric cars, from the chassis to the steering wheel, and more. This year, we're looking to up the ante.
Composites are not new the incorporation of them to such an extent in our cars is. According to Doug Dopps, the leader of the Composites Manufacturing, Research & Development team, there are over 30 parts on the car made out of composites.
We've come a long way from the rough and aged carbon fiber wheel rim that was developed around 10 years ago, now our team is working on adding more and more composite parts to our car.
Some of the projects working their way through R&D include parts previously made of composites but requiring further development, such as the steering wheel, the dash, headrest, and battery cover. Other items are development projects to be used in future years, such as carbon fiber halfshafts and A-arms.
Doing these projects in composites instead of metals will greatly reduce the weight, making the car faster, more maneuverable, and easier to stop – overall a better car is a light-weight car.
However there is more to this aspect of the UW Formula Motorsports other than developing new ways for the team to use this incredible strong and lightweight material. Like everything else on Formula, this is a learning experience to help student engineers become well-rounded prospective employees.
Those on the Composites manufacturing R&D team will be able to perform structural analysis of composites, layup and physically test the product, and more.
The 11 members of this new sub-team within UW Formula Motorsports are proving why we are consistently in the higher rankings of FSAE. We push the limitations and conventions of a student run team building racecars and achieve success.
FSAE Lincoln - June 18th - 21st
FS Germany - July 29th - August 3rd