Students find right formula at Motor Show

Saturday, 3 April 2004

Nestled among the exotic international supercars at the Adelaide Motor Show, a team of University of Adelaide students is showing that the future of the Australian car making is in good hands.

The 20 final-year Mechanical Engineering students - including two females - from the University of Adelaide have an exhibition at the Motor Show to launch their entry in this year's Formula SAE-A competition and commence their sponsorship drive to raise $30,000. (SAE stands for Society of Automotive Engineers, an organisation that began in the US, with SAE-A representing the Australasian arm of the Society.)

The competition pits students from around the world against each other in the design, construction and racing of their own formula-style, open-wheeled racing cars. This year's competition will be hosted by Ford at Werribee in Victoria in December, with cars judged in a range of categories, including design, speed, fuel economy and endurance.

Coordinator of the University of Adelaide's Formula SAE-A program, Dr Colin Kestell, says the 2004 team is looking to improve on the effort of last year's team, which finished a creditable seventh overall - and the third-best Australian entry - out of 21 teams, which came from as far away as the US, Germany, Sweden and Japan.

"It really takes an enormous effort on behalf of all the students in the team to bring the project together, but the benefits are fantastic," he says. "It is set up in such a way to mirror a typical engineering business. We have a 'managing director', who has an engineering business hierarchy underneath him with components of management, chassis design, aerodynamic development, suspension, drivetrain design and marketing.

"It is a great opportunity for students who are interested in working in the automotive industry to get a head start on their careers while still at university. The benefits of the competition are starting to show, with most of the participating students securing lucrative jobs in the automotive industry, including jobs with the local V8 Supercar team, Team Dynamik, and some have chosen to continue with their studies towards PhDs.

"At the moment we have just completed the design of our entry. Part of the design process includes the 'virtual manufacture' of the car - right down to the last nut and bolt - which the students do using the latest three-dimensional computer-aided design and engineering software. The students can assemble and check every part of the car in a digital environment before physically manufacturing it, which we hope to do by July."


Contact Details

Paul Caffin
Mobile: 0402 255 431

Daniel Blake
Formula SAE-A marketing/finance director
Mobile: 0439 939 577

Dr Colin Kestell
Senior Lecturer
School of Mechanical Engineering
University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5946
Mobile: 0414 979 257

Media Team
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 0814

Mr David Ellis
Deputy Director, Media and Corporate Relations
External Relations
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 5414
Mobile: +61 (0)421 612 762