design, build and race car
27, 2000, Gazette)
Team 2000 Formula MUN racers
(L-R) Chris Higdon, Shane White, Bryan Mercer, and Dave Earle
tinker with the cars engine.
model car kits you could get at Christmas? The kind with fifty
million pieces and glue that stuck your fingers to the kitchen
table more than anything else?
That was easy
compared to this.
in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science Shane
White, Brian Mercer, Dave Earle, and Chris Higdon, have decided
to build a formula-style racing car for competition at the Formula
SAE an international university-level design competition
event judging concept, design, fabrication, cost, endurance,
fuel economy, and of course, speed.
not so much an oval track racing event as it is a series of judged
events, Mr. Higdon explained. Theres a lot
more to it. You can actually get negative points if you neglect
things that are important.
The team will
travel to Pontiac, Michigan, to participate in the event, to
be held May 17-21. One of 20 Canadian teams participating this
year (out of 107 total), the Formula MUN team hopes to do well,
and is actively seeking sponsorships from the local community.
A project over
15 months in the making, Formula MUNs team even went on
an information gathering trip to Pontiac last year,
returning with over 18 rolls of film and 400 photographs of what
the competition did and how it performed. They plan to put their
information to good use in a solid placing or even a win
The team has
been challenged by the physical separation caused by their varying
work-term placements theyre only in town together
for four months at a stretch, and then, they are supposed to
It seems like we just get a bit of momentum going with
building the car and then we all have to go away again,
Mr. Higdon said.
Added Mr. Mercer:
Building a car is only part of the project. Its also
getting down there and back, getting the sponsorships, all the
presentations, the cost report, the meetings.
been a real learning experience, and the team says the learning
curve has been valuable one.
starting from square one, Mr. White said. We didnt
know anything, so we had to start from scratch.
As Mr. Mercer
explained: A lot of our stuff in school is all theoretical,
youre given a problem and you solve the problem on paper.
So this is more real. The first problem was finding all the stuff
we need to do it, so thats pretty real.
students have a faculty adviser in Andy Fisher, theyre
supposed to do as much as they can independently. Assistance
comes in the form of the Formula SAE Internet mailing list
a community of the untried and the experienced dedicated to sharing
their questions and their knowledge.
Memorial, the students are challenged by the costs attendant
with living away from the racing centres in the middle of the
continent, but they see being unknown and underestimated as a
strategic advantage in the long run.
its been designed well, Mr. Higdon explained. And
because were a new team were not limited by previous
experience, were not in a rut.
works out and the team brings home the honour of a win
and the lucrative cash award that goes with it the team
is committed to reinvesting right back into the effort for next
year, buying a new fuel system or a new set of rims that otherwise
they wouldnt be able to afford.
so much time on this, and we want to make sure it continues,
so weve got a lot of younger students involved, as well,
said Mr. Mercer. And so next year, they wont have
to start from scratch.
the team an official society so its open to anyone (in
engineering), Mr. White added, as long as they want
to be involved in the project.
For more information
about the teams progress or to support the effort, check
out www.engr.mun.ca/~raceteam or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.