Background

Georgia Tech Motorsports (GTMS) is an extracurricular, student-run organization for students across every major and department at Georgia Tech. The team provides hands-on experience by giving participants the opportunity to work on a medium-scale engineering project that has both time and budget constraints.

Each year, members of the team collectively spend tens of thousands of hours designing, analyzing, building and testing a four-wheeled vehicle to compete in the annual Formula SAE (FSAE) student design series.

 
 

 
 

The Competition

For 36 years, FSAE has hosted an automotive design competition for collegiate engineering students to build a formula-style racecar. The purpose of the competition is to challenge teams from around the world to design and build open-wheel cars targeted towards the avid amateur or weekend autocross racer. The car must satisfy a multitude of safety and design requirements that demand clever problem solving and engineering prowess.

The competition is broken into two main categories: Static and Dynamic events.

 
 
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Static Events:

  • Design: The design event is the most heavily weighted static event. The entire team explains and defends design choices, testing, and analysis that went into building the car. Judges question team members on their designs, and try to challenge every fact stated to test the team's knowledge and steadfastness about their choices.
  • Cost: A cost report must be created and submitted before competition, which lists the cost for every part and manufacturing process required to build a complete car for production.
  • Business Presentation: The presentation is given to judges at competition, where two representatives from the team, usually the business lead and a business team member, showcase the car to potential “investors”. They must also be able to answer any questions the investors may have.

Dynamic Events:

  • Acceleration: The car starts from a standstill and accelerates at full power to the end of a 75-meter straightaway. The cars are scored based on the best elapsed time of four runs to complete the distance.
  • Autocross: A cone course is set up for all cars to race through. This event features several hairpin turns, slaloms, and short straightaways, putting the car through highly transient maneuvers.
  • Skid-pad: The car completes a figure-eight course, with 2 laps going in the right-hand direction, and 2 laps left-hand. The cars are scored based on the the average time between each half of the figure 8. The best average time of the four runs is used.
  • Endurance: This 22-kilometer race, with multiple cars simultaneously on track, is the flagship event at the competition. The car will complete half the race before coming in for a driver change where it must start under it’s own battery. Endurance features a mixture of straightaways, tight turns, hairpin turns, and slaloms If the team completes the race, points are awarded for total time.  
  •  Fuel Efficiency: Before endurance, the fuel tank is filled by track marshalls. Afterwards, it is re-filled, and the amount of fuel consumed is used for the fuel efficiency score.

 

 

For more information, please visit the official website of the Formula SAE Series.