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Victorian university triumphs at Formula SAE-A

From left: Wyndham City Council deputy major cr. Glenn Goodfellow, GM Holden executive director of engineering Greg Tyus, Australian Grand Prix Corporation general manager for motorsport Craig Fletcher and SAE-A president Bill Malkoutzis.

Formula SAE-A winners Monash Uni to get track time at Albert Park during Aussie GP

27 Jan 2012

ENGINEERING students from Monash University beat 22 other teams from the Asia-Pacific region to take first prize in the 2011 Formula SAE-Australasia (SAE-A) competition, which entails designing and building a race car from scratch within a budget of $50,000.

Winning the event earned the Melbourne-based institution its third consecutive victory plus, for the first time in the competition’s 11-year history, a track appearance at this year’s Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix in March.

The group of students from Monash will be joined at Albert Park in Melbourne by teams from Perth-based podium placers University of Western Australia and Edith Cowan University.

Australian car manufacturers take turns hosting the Formula SAE-A competition, with GM Holden providing assistance in 2011 in the areas of project management, logistics and several employees volunteering their time and labour.

GM Holden executive director of engineering Greg Tyus described the experience Formula SAE-A gives students uniquely reflects the challenges they will face in employment due to the team environment and deadline challenges that must be faced while optimising their design.

80 center imageLeft: University of Western Australia. Below: Edith Cowan University.

Mr Tyus said Australia needs the best talent in its automotive sector, which is a cornerstone for many other key industries.

SAE-A Editor Barry Oosthuizen told GoAuto the Victorian government and various motor industry bodies decided that showcasing the winning cars and the teams behind them at the Grand Prix would help the event deliver better value for to the community by showcasing the level of engineering skill already present in Australia.

Announcing the inclusion of Formula SAE-A to the Grand Prix program, Australian Grand Prix Corporation motorsport and entertainment general manager Craig Fletcher said it would form part of an education initiative to encourage young Australians to consider high technology careers in vehicle design, engineering, manufacturing, and service and repair.

Mr Oosthuizen said the Australian aftermarket industry – a hidden hive of design, engineering and manufacturing activity in this country – will also get its own pavilion at Albert Park, drawing attention in particular to Australian performance and motorsport equipment and technology.

Defending the title and taking the hat-trick for Monash University was a lighter car with more fuel-efficient engine that topped the cost, skid pad and endurance events.

It achieved second place in the autocross category and scored highly for its design, which like previous Monash entrants, featured a huge rear wing.

Monash were also awarded an engineering excellence award by FISITA (the International Federation of Automotive Engineering).

The University of Western Australia – which reigned victorious in 2005 and 2007 and won the USA version of the competition in 2008 – had it all to play for after coming 21st in 2010 and achieved second place after winning the autocross, acceleration and fuel economy events.

UWA however were forced to run without aerodynamic fairings that fell foul of rules that predicate an open-wheeled car.

Taking the third podium spot was another Perth-based team and relative newcomer Edith Cowan University, whose car shared its big-winged silhouette with the entry from Monash and took first place in the design category, while achieving third place for acceleration, autocross and endurance.

SAE-A puts 2011’s smaller field of 23 entrants, compared with more than 25 in previous years, down to financial issues faced by the teams – especially the transport costs for those from outside Australia (this year there were entries came from Japan, New Zealand, and India).

The competition, which the SAE-A says delivers “immediate practical results” in the form of top engineers for Australian industries, requires “greater assistance from all stakeholders interested in creating high technology outcomes for Australia”.

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