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REF NO.: 255
SUBJECT: Formula MUN team sets its sights on top 40 in international car competition
DATE: May 14
Memorial University’s Formula MUN car racing team will compete against 140 racing car teams from around the world in the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) from May 19-23, in Pontiac, Michigan. The Memorial car has been a year in the making and has been built from the ground up by a team of 10 students. The 2004 Formula MUN race car was unveiled at a special event held at the university today.
Matthew Garvin, team leader, feels very confident that this year's car and design is a much stronger entry than last year’s. He says the 2004 car is an evolution of last year’s model. “It incorporates aerospace-grade carbon fibre as well as other less-exotic materials in what will be our lightest car ever,” he said. “Nearly all of the systems have been optimized for light weight, with some of the stand-out systems being the drive train and carbon fibre rear uprights.” Mr. Garvin says he would be personally disappointed if they did not crack the top 40 overall. “Last year, we made the top 40 in design but had some problems that prevented us from completing the event. I expect that we will do very well in the design portion of the event which has been our strongest aspect in past years. Our presentations and the car itself are much better prepared than ever before, so this should be breakthrough year in a lot of areas.”
Dr. Ray Gosine, dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial, says this competition is a valuable part of the university experience because students learn more than just how to build a car. “Participating in Formula MUN allows students to develop valuable problem-solving skills related to accounting, marketing, design, prototyping, budget management, project management, cost management and at the same time gives them the opportunity to work on a project that integrates principles of mechanical, electrical, computer and civil engineering. “Dr. Gosine noted the first Formula MUN project began in 1996 when a group of engineering students got together and used the design of a racing car as the basis for their final year design projects. In 2001, Memorial competed at the World Championships, beating 36 teams from around the world. This year’s team has students from Engineering, Business, Arts and Science faculties.
Memorial University President Axel Meisen says he’s very proud of the Formula MUN team and how far they’ve come since starting nearly a decade ago. “Our engineering students are extremely bright and motivated. They not only receive an excellent academic education, but through the mandatory co-op program, they obtain practical, real-life engineering experience during their studies at Memorial,” Dr. Meisen said. “Projects like Formula MUN and the Formula SAE competition support our objective of providing students with a hands-on learning experience. We are very optimistic that the 2004 team has the ingenuity, design and management skills to become world champions.”
The Formula MUN project cost approximately $20,000 this year for car production, parts, and travel. The project has very strong support from Memorial University including sponsorship through the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, P.J. Gardiner Institute, Technical Services, Student Recruitment, Student Affairs and University Relations. In addition, the Formula MUN team is grateful to community sponsors, including Atlantic Recreation Yamaha, the Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Newfoundland and Labrador, Gateway and West Side Charlie’s, for their support of this year’s project.
For Formula SAE, an international competition held in the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia, students design, fabricate, and compete with small formula-style race cars. Restrictions are placed on the car frame and engine so the students’ knowledge, creativity, and imagination are tested. The vehicles are judged in three different categories: static inspection and engineering design, solo performance trails, and high-performance track endurance. This competition dates back to 1981 when a few teams from the southern United States competed against each other. The event grew throughout the 80s, attracting GM, Ford, and Daimler Chrysler as the official sponsors, and soon became a worldwide event, with teams from as far away as Korea, Japan, UK, and Australia competing.
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