Formula SAE is a student design competition organized by SAE International (SAE, previously known as the Society of Automotive Engineers). The competition was started in 1978 and was originally called SAE Mini Indy.

The concept behind Formula SAE is that a fictional manufacturing company has contracted a student design team to develop a small Formula-style race car. The prototype race car is to be evaluated for its potential as a production item. The target marketing group for the race car is the non-professional weekend autocross racer. Each student team designs, builds and tests a prototype based on a series of rules, whose purpose is both ensuring on-track safety (the cars are driven by the students themselves) and promoting clever problem solving.

The prototype race car is judged in a number of different events.

At the beginning of the competition, the vehicle is checked for rule compliance during the Technical Inspection. Its braking ability, rollover stability and noise levels are checked before the vehicle is allowed to compete in the dynamic events (Skidpad, Autocross, Acceleration, and Endurance).

Formula SAE encompasses all aspects of a business including research, design, manufacturing, testing, developing, marketing, management, and fund raising.

Today, the competition has expanded and includes a number of spinoff events. Formula Student is a similar SAE-sanctioned event in the UK, as well as Formula SAE Australasia (Formula SAE-A) taking place in Australia. A Formula SAE West event takes place in California but will be replaced by SAE Lincoln in Nebraska for 2012. The Verein Deutscher Ingenieure (VDI) holds the Formula Student Germany competition at Hockenheimring.


Static Events: (Static disciplines in paddock)

Engineering design report (150 points): Judges evaluate the car in terms of the design solutions used and the maturity of the design. The solution must be supported by calculations and simulations.
Cost Analysis (100 points): The price of the car and the correct calculation of its production price in the eventual real-time production are assessed.
Marketing Plan (Business Plan – 75 points): In front of representatives of a fictitious company, we need to defend the plan for the serial production of our prototype car.

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Security tests required to enter dynamic disciplines:

Technical & Safety Testing (Technique & Safety)
Tilt Test
Brake & Noise Test

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Dynamic Events:

Acceleration (75 points): Acceleration of the car on a 75m long track with a solid start.
Skid-pad  (50 points): Eight-way track where the transit time is assessed to assess the suspension qualities.
Autocross (150 points): Ride on a narrow technical track to evaluate acceleration, braking and maneuverability. They also serve as a Endurance qualification.
Endurance & Fuel economy (350 + 50 points): Endurance race test all car systems at the 22km circuit race with driver change halfway. Fuel consumption is also evaluated.

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