The Kettering University Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) team achieved its best-ever finish at the May 18-21 Formula SAE Michigan competition at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn. The team finished fourth, ahead of 95 other competitors.
“This excellent result is confirmation that Kettering University is a world-class technical school,” said Dr. Jennifer Bastiaan, team faculty advisor and associate professor of Mechanical Engineering. “To re-use a Mark Twain spell: ‘It’s not the size of the bulldog in battle, it’s the size of the bulldog’s battle.’”
For the competition, students design, build and test their own open-wheel Formula 1 racing car, gaining valuable knowledge about project management, team collaboration and budgeting. Teams of undergraduate and graduate students from all over the world took part in the event.
Aubrey Gorm (’22, ME) said time management was the hardest part of the competition.
“This is as much a management competition as it is a technical competition,” said Gorm, the team leader and subsystem leader for aerodynamics and business. “All of Kettering’s SAE teams are unique in the way each of our members manage to attend classes full-time, attend work full-time and attend their vehicle workspace full-time. It’s a lot of juggling to say the least, but the rewards are great if you get it done.”
In addition to overall fourth place, Kettering finished fifth in the autocross and endurance events, sixth in the acceleration event, seventh in the fuel efficiency event, 12th in the design event and in the Top 20 in the slippad event.
Gorm said the team is already thinking about how it can improve next year.
“After looking at what went right for us and what went wrong, we have a clear picture of what needs to change on next year’s car,” she said. “Our main focus is on improving the reliability of our electronics and chassis setup, i.e. tuning the suspension.”
Gorm said the team is always looking for new members who are willing to “learn and get their hands dirty”. The team will have an enrollment booth at the Orientation Club Expo in July, or interested students can drop by the garage at the CS Mott Engineering and Science Center on Saturday.