Winning formula from race car team
South Australia's most successful student racing car team has its sights firmly set on the number one position at this year's Formula SAE national championships.
University of Adelaide Racing Concepts, a team comprised entirely of university engineering students, recently launched its bid for the top spot in 2007 with a drive display for media and sponsors at the Torrens Parade Ground.
Formula SAE is a global competition run by the Society for Automotive Engineers (SAE), which sees teams of university students from around Australia and the world designing and building an open-wheel, formula-style race car. The teams compete in a series of performance and reliability tests, with prizes in a number of different categories.
The University of Adelaide team - a previous winner of the prestigious design event - says it's ready to challenge for the number-one spot on the national circuit this year.
"The new car that we're developing for 2007 will be our best yet," said the Managing Director of the team, final-year engineering student Costa Casiou.
"Formula SAE gives our team members the opportunity to take the latest knowledge of design and manufacturing and apply that to a real project, which is why each year is an improvement on the last. We believe this season will be our most successful of all, and we're aiming for the chance to become the Australian champions and to compete against other teams from around the world."
Traditionally, only final-year engineering students at the University have participated in Formula SAE. From this year, engineering students at all levels will have a chance to be exposed to the race car project.
"We think it's important that students as early as first year have the opportunity to get involved in Formula SAE, because they will learn a lot from the experience and have a much better understanding of the project by the time they get to final year," Costa said.
"We've already had input on our new car from a number of third-year students and one second-year student. Exposing students earlier to the project will greatly benefit Adelaide's competitiveness in the long-term," he said.
At the Torrens Parade Ground, students - as well as University Vice-Chancellor and President Professor James McWha and other senior staff - displayed their driving prowess in last year's Formula SAE car.
Professor Peter Dowd, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Computer & Mathematical Sciences, said: "One of the important lessons our students learn through this program is the ability to turn theory into reality on every level - from the design, build and maintenance of the car, right through to the management of the team and even dealing with sponsors and media.
"The high quality of our students, combined with experiences such as the Formula SAE project, means that they become outstanding graduates ready to embark on major challenges as professional engineers."