BY DANIELLE SUGAI, Staff Reporter
The top college formula racing team in Michigan resides here at UM-Dearborn.
The Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) team at Dearborn was founded in 1994, and each year the team’s goal is to design, build, and race a miniature formula racecar. The team of about 30 students works on their vehicles in the Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems building.
This past May, the team competed at Michigan International Speedway — which hosts Nascar events — and placed eighth out of 120 college teams, beating teams from around the world, including Poland, Germany, and Singapore.
The team placed fourth out of 22 teams in a competition in Ontario, Canada last year.
Captain Julia Klee says that this amount of success is rare for a commuter school like UM-Dearborn.
Competitions are very stressful according to lead chassis engineer Mary Bellino, who is a junior majoring in mechanical engineering.
“Events are usually four days long, and you are there from around 7 a.m. until 6 p.m.”
The team has had good luck not breaking the car at competitions, but at a competition in Lincoln, Nebraska in 2014, Bellino recalls,
“We broke a chain with three laps left, and it took us out of the event which was a disappointment, but we learned from it.”
The team doesn’t have a competition until May, but they’ve been working on the next vehicle all summer.
The team spent the summer break designing the newest vehicle as parts and raw materials needed to be ordered to begin building the vehicle. The manufacturing process, which consists of welding and finalizing the frame of the vehicle, takes place from November through January. Physically putting the car together begins in February, and once the car is completely built in April the team begins testing. The team has practice runs in the parking lots on Saturdays and collects data until competitions begin in May.
The vehicles top out at about 80 mph and go 0-60 mph in three seconds, on par with a Porsche or Ferrari.
“It was cool because the car we designed went faster than the mass produced sports cars,” Klee says of the speeds they reached at an autocross competition.
After months of putting the car together, the last variable added is the driver. The team chooses a driver based on a number of qualifications.
Bellino says there’s more to driving than being fast.
“Different events need different drivers,” Bellino said. “The fastest drivers have to be the most consistent drivers for some events, but weight is a huge factor in acceleration so we try and put the smallest person in the car.”
Although it is a student-led club, it needs constant management and is operated like a business. Amongst other things, Klee is in charge of corporate outreach, which entails meeting with automotive companies that may sponsor the team.
Sponsors such as Ford or Chrysler provide grants, donate parts, or give discounts to the team to purchase parts, but the university is the club’s biggest sponsor.
Members get a first-hand glimpse of the automotive world, but also gain professional opportunities.
“Everyone on the team has a job,” said member Andrea Stark, a junior majoring in mechanical engineering. “Companies want employees with SAE experience.”
The overwhelming feeling after visiting with the SAE club is the passion and dedication all the members have for the team and each other.
Members spend countless hours working on each vehicle, sacrificing study and work time.
“In our club, we are actually a team,” said Klee. “We go out together and everyone on the team cares about one another.”
Students of all majors are welcome to join said Klee, a communications major.
“You can join any time in the year,” Klee said. “It’s not that you’ve missed the first month, you’re not allowed.”
Meetings are held Wednesday at 7 p.m. and Saturday at 10 a.m. in the IAVS, and those interested are encouraged to stop by for a visit.
Editor’s note: This story was edited Oct. 8 for the following corrections: a misspelling of Dearborn in the photo caption, the removing of “the” in “the Michigan International Speedway,” the misspelling of Andrea Stark’s name, Julia Klee being a communication/business double major and the organization’s meeting days and times.
June 21, 2015
If you were to look in the back of Mary Bellino’s white Ford Fusion, you’d see a few homework papers, a stray pen and orange road cones.
“We do practice laps every weekend in May and June in the parking lots outside of the IAVS,” said Bellino, Formula SAE team captain. “I found a few cones that were left behind and put them in the back of my car.”
Zooming around those cones this spring was part of the Formula SAE team’s successful 2015 run. Bellino and her teammates have found that practice makes nearly perfect.
See Article Here
AUBURN HILLS, Mich., May 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, FEV North America, Inc. (FEV) announced the recipients of the 2015 FEV Powertrain Development Award, presented to three collegiate teams that designed, developed and demonstrated exemplary powertrain solutions in the 2015 Formula SAE competition held May 13 – 16 at Michigan International Speedway (MIS) near Brooklyn, MI. The Award was presented on Saturday, May 16 during the awards ceremony at the conclusion of the competition.
The Powertrain Development Award considers critical powertrain-relevant aspects, including performance, fuel economy, durability and cost in determining a winner. The Award uses a quantitative scoring system as a metric for the optimization process that the student teams go through as they develop solutions, much like the work that a professional engineer might perform on a day-to-day basis. There are multiple solution paths that a team can employ to win.
The 2015 FEV Powertrain Award winners were:
1st place: University of Florida (839.8 pts.)
2nd place: Wroclaw University of Technology (Poland) (823.9 pts.)
3rd place: National University of Singapore (806.2 pts.)
Notably, in the FEV Powertrain Award competition, the University of Michigan (U of M) placed 4th, and U of M Dearborn was in the 5th position. Michigan State University also fared well, finishing in the 10th position. Other area schools in the top 20 included Western Michigan University in 12th place, and the University of Toledo in 13th place. Saginaw Valley, which finished in the top 20 in last year's competition, missed by one place, finishing at 21st. Michigan Technological University placed 24th.
"The technologies and skill set that the students develop for the FSAE competition reflect the type of projects and activities that automotive engineers perform daily," said Robert J. Last, vice president of communications, marketing & compliance at FEV and current member of the SAE Foundation Board of Trustees. "Similar to the engineers that are working in the industry, these teams understand that both high performance and optimal fuel economy are important to both current and future powertrains. The FEV Powertrain Development Award rewards excellence in these areas by adapting an objective, equation-based approach that can be optimized by the FSAE team. FEV congratulates the winners and recognizes their efforts."
The top three (preliminary results) overall winners in the 2015 Formula SAE competition were Graz Technical University (1st place),Oregon State University (2nd place), and the University of Florida (3rd place).
Student teams must adhere to the rules specified by the SAE, which can be found on its Web site, www.sae.org. "The rules for the Formula SAE competition are continuously evolving. As a result, today's FSAE teams need to develop new solutions each year," said Last, "but the level of creativity that is on display here is palpable and energizing. It's been a real pleasure to spend the week with these young men and women."
"The Collegiate Design Series provides students with an opportunity to experience the complete engineering and business project cycle, including fundraising and defending the project in a detailed presentation. These are essential skills that engineering students need to acquire to be successful in the industry," said Last.
About Formula SAE
The Formula SAE® competition is for SAE student members to conceive, design, fabricate, and compete with small formula-style racing cars. The restrictions on the car frame and engine are limited so that the knowledge, creativity, and imagination of the students are challenged. The cars are built with a team effort over a period of about one year and are taken to the annual competition for judging and comparison with approximately 100 other vehicles from colleges and universities throughout the world. The end result is a great experience for young engineers in a meaningful engineering project as well as the opportunity of working in a dedicated team effort.
The FEV Group is an internationally recognized powertrain and vehicle engineering company that supplies the global transportation industry. FEV offers a complete range of engineering services, providing support across the globe to customers in the design, analysis, prototyping, powertrain and transmission development, as well as vehicle integration, calibration and homologation for advanced internal combustion gasoline-, diesel-, and alternative-fueled powertrains. FEV also designs, develops and prototypes advanced vehicle / powertrain electronic control systems and hybrid-electric engine concepts that address future emission and fuel economy standards. The company has expanded its engineering capabilities to include full vehicle systems and now offers broad expertise in electronics, telematics and infotainment system engineering. The FEV Test Systems division is a global supplier of advanced test cell, instrumentation and test equipment. The FEV Group employs a staff of over 3,800 highly skilled specialists at advanced technical centers on three continents. FEV North America, Inc. employs over 450 personnel in its North American Technical Center in Auburn Hills, MI.
SOURCE FEV North America, Inc.
UM-Dearborn’s Formula SAE racecar was revealed to students, staff, and supporters on Saturday, April 18. (Amber Ainsworth/MJ)
By AMBER AINSWORTH, Staff Reporter
The 2015 University of Michigan-Dearborn Formula SAE race car was revealed to students, staff, and supporters on Saturday, April 18.
Students designed and built the car based on a set of rules; that car will then be tested against the cars of other teams to evaluate its performance.
This year’s car is the product of 20 years of past designs. A brief presentation before the unveiling allowed the team that built the car to discuss the highlights of the vehicle, as well as what was done differently in comparison to last year’s car. Each year brings a new design, fueled by what worked and what did not work in the past.
According to team president Mary Bellino, what changes from year to year depends on what will make the greatest impact on the car’s performance. Since the team doesn’t have all the resources to make all the changes they would like, simulations are ran to determine what changes will be made. The carrying over of ideas from seniors down is usually also a huge factor in the car’s performance, said Bellino.
Some years UM-Deaborn’s vehicle has been able to place in the top 10 when raced against other teams, though results like that depend on how many team members are returners.
The car’s production is entirely funded through sponsors and donations. According to the team’s Community Outreach Coordinator, Julia Klee, this year’s car took about $12,000 to build. Klee is responsible for getting in touch with the sponsors that help make the car possible.
Besides money, the race car requires a large amount of time and dedication from the team members. Both current students and alumni contribute to the success of the vehicle. Steve Dietz graduated from UM-Dearborn in 2008, but still comes back to mentor the team. In comparison to past cars, Dietz believes that the car is a good step in the right direction in terms of technology.
UM-Dearborn’s Formula SAE racecar was revealed to students, staff, and supporters on Saturday, April 18. (Amber Ainsworth/MJ)
Alessandro Pacifici, who has worked on the cars for three years, dedicated most of his free time to working on the car. He worked so much that he doesn’t even know how much time he put into this year’s vehicle.
“It’s like a full time job,” said Bellino, noting that often times, more than 40 hours a week can be spent working on the car. At the unveiling event, parents joked about how that morning was the first time they had seen their children in months.
It’s not that much of an overstatement; January started the car building process. Orders for parts were placed in January, in February the team started making parts, and in March the actual assembly of the vehicle began and continued up until the night before the unveiling. That night, nearly the entire time was at the Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems (IAVS), working to perfect the car for the morning. Even after that, there are still adjustments that have to be made before it is ready to hit the track and compete.
Time management is everything, according to Bellino. Successful time management not only allows the team to test the car, but also allows those who will be driving it to get familiar with it before race day.
This year’s race will be held May 13-16 at Michigan International Speedway. UM-Dearborn’s car will be up against over 100 teams from various schools, including several teams outside of the country.
By GEOFF MEHL, Staff Reporter
There is a team at University of Michigan-Dearborn that many students don’t even know exists. But it may be one of the most interesting teams on campus.
Located in the Institute for Advanced Vehicle Systems building, UM-Dearborn’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers combustion racing team designs and builds their own miniature formula race car. The team is comprised of students from all different backgrounds to accomplish a common goal.
“We’re engineering students and business students. We come from everywhere but our main goal is to design and build a race car that we can compete with against teams all over the world,” said team President Mary Bellino.
The SAE combustion race team was founded 21 years ago and recently celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2014. The team is comprised of 20 core members and about 15-20 volunteer members that give their time in the building of the vehicle.
Membership is up from just five members in 2012.
“It’s a great connection building experience,” Bellino said. “Every single team member worked at an internship in the automotive industry so you make a lot of great connections which is part of this.”
The car is entirely custom based on the specifications laid out by the SAE. The motor is a snowmobile engine that tops out at around 65 mph. The transmission is continuous and requires no shifting, similar to an automatic transmission.
The shiftless build of the transmission lends for the slogan, “Do you even shift, bro?” on the rear of the vehicle. The framework, suspension and body of the vehicle all are custom designed by the team, and they are required to design a new car every year for the competition.
The courses are designed to keep the car from going in excess of 50 mph, but the car can pull almost 1.5 Gs around turns.
As for the driver on the team, there isn’t one yet. The group decides on a driver by letting all its members race on a closed course on campus and the best timed driver wins.
The organization is open to any students willing join, not just engineers. Public Relations Manager Colin Burgess is a biology major but feels that anyone can get something out this program.
“We seek to help students apply what they learn in the classroom, learn and get hands on experience that they wouldn’t normally get,” he said.
The SAE combustion team is a non-profit organization that reaches outside the walls of UM-Dearborn. They were recently featured at the North American International Auto Show with the car they built in 2014. The team was able to promote the car and the school’s College of Engineering.
Among help from the school, the SAE holds a budget of around $65,000. Nearly half the money comes from UM-Dearborn and half from local sponsors like Ford, DTE, Buffalo Wild Wings, 3M and Roush. The organization also has a sister team, the Formula SAE electric team that shares sponsors and part of the budget.
The racing season is approaching rapidly as spring is on its way, and the team has three competitions on the horizon. The first features the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich., and they will also attend a race in Lincoln, Neb. and Barrie, Ont.