Thursday, June 26, 2008


Good evening from California! Today marked the first day of the 2008 Formula SAE West competition; being held at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA.

Arriving at the track this morning at 7 am, we spent the morning completing on-site registration and then began to unpack the semi trailer. The first, and only event of the day: Scrutineering, didn't open until 4 pm, and thankfully for driver Brandon Goad's quick response this morning, we reserved the 8th spot in line (out of 55 teams currently present at the venue).

Thanks to the streamlined processes of online SAE registration, and Steve Daum, Kaley Zundel and the rest of the on-site SAE staff, the paperwork that we had to complete in the morning was minimal and went quickly.

Following a quick registration, we spent our time preparing Car 51 (for FSAE West, the number on her is 10) for scrutineering, as well as prepping for some additional static events tomorrow.

Scrutineering was virtually painless, with the technical inspectors leaving us with only three very small fixes to complete on Car 51: some additional padding around the driver's compartment, a few more tabs to support the seat pan, and a small modification to increase the radius of Car 51's nose. We have already completed the last request, and expect to have the other two finished by the start of our first static event tomorrow at 9:30 AM PST.

Speaking of tomorrow...the events for tomorrow include all "static" events, or events where the car is not in motion. These include Design, Presentation and Cost/Manufacturing. I elaborated a bit about Design in an earlier blog post, so I won't go into it again.

The Presentation event helps participants learn the intricacies of product and vehicle marketing. Essentially, the event requires that each team research, build and prepare a presentation or 'pitch' for selling their vehicle in a unit-volume run of 1200 per year. Over the past few years, MSU has been lucky to have team members who are quite good at this event, winning it at Formula SAE Michigan in 2004, and placing 2nd at both in 2006 and 2007 Formula SAE West competitions. I 'pitched' our plans in 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008 at MIS, so I would really like to win one of these things before fully handing over the rheins to Ankit Mathur.

The final static event, and our first of tomorrow, is Cost/Manufacturing. In this event, we will be asked to present our research on the manufacturing processes of two randomly-chosen components (from a list of eight). Additionally, we will introduce our understanding of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFM and DFA), and how they apply to this particular product in small-volume production. This event is especially fun, as it allows first-year team members to get involved in presenting at competition.

Well, that's about all for now, folks. I'll post up some updates tomorrow as events are completed. On behalf of all of the 2008 team and our faculty advisor Gary Cloud, who recently joined us tonight, we hope that you enjoy the pictures from today's events.

Talk with you tomorrow. Go Green. Go White. Go Fast.


Welcome to the paddocks.

Entire paddock area at Auto Club Speedway

Our paddock

2009 Chief Engineer Andy Rogers performing a few final checks before heading to Scrutineering

Waiting in line for Scrutineering. Car 51 drew quite a crowd wherever we took her.

Judges checked Car 51 thoroughly

Powertrain Mechanical and Driving Team Leader Andy Gryczan discusses the inspection with one of the technical scrutineers.

A series of three: Andy practices egress of the racecar. Formula SAE rules require that all drivers must do it in 5 seconds or less.


Anonymous said...

where did the real website go?

I needed to find information about the team, but all i saw was this blog.

Sarah said...

I can't find the main website, either. And the Make-A-Wish pledge page is down. I know the team has a lot on its plate right now in CA. I just say this as a heads-up because lots of folks probably want to peek at the site, esp. during competition.

Fred said...

15 gal.? What's that convert to in seconds.