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Background


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Background


Georgia Tech Motorsports (GTMS) is an extracurricular, student-run organization for students across every major and department at Georgia Tech. The team provides hands-on experience by giving participants the opportunity to work on a medium-scale engineering project that has both time and budget constraints. Each year, members of the team collectively spend tens of thousands of hours designing, analyzing, building and testing a four-wheeled vehicle to compete in the annual Formula SAE (FSAE) student design series.

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The Team


The Team


The team is organized in a hierarchical tree headed by the Team Lead and Chief Engineer - senior students who are elected by returning team members to take charge for the following season. Together, they work to develop the principle mechanical design of the next car, set goals and targets for the upcoming season, and manage the overall direction of the team.

The Senior Leaders include three others. The Shop Manager oversees the proper use of all tools, trains the team to use machines safely, and helps the various subsystems with the fabrication of in-house parts. The Development Manager oversees data collection and collaborates with other leadership to construct a testing and development plan to ensure the car is well-prepared for the Michigan competition. The Business Manager oversees team finances, effective use of materials, and the Cost Model and Business Presentation for competition.

Beneath these Senior Leaders, various subsystems divide the work and specialize in specific areas of the car. The Subsystem Leaders lead their respective teams in the design, fabrication, and analysis of individual components on their specific system. The subsystems are:

  • Powertrain
  • Performance
  • Suspension
  • Aerodynamics
  • Chassis
  • Controls
  • Electrical

Additionally, the Public Relations and Business teams, headed by experienced members, focus on the non-engineering aspects of the project.   

Parallel to Subsystem Leads are two System Directors. The Manufacturing Director assists subsystems with machine set-up and component manufacturing and oversees machine training and tooling inventory. The Recruitment Director coordinates events for any students interested in joining the organization and works with the team to develop a training plan for new members. 

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The Competition


The Competition


For 36 years, SAE has hosted an automotive design competition for collegiate engineering students, building formula-style racecars. The purpose of the competition is to challenge teams from around the world to design and build open-wheel cars targeted towards the avid amateur or weekend autocross racer. The car must satisfy a series of safety and design requirements that demand clever problem solving and engineering prowess.

The competition is broken into two main categories: Static and Dynamic events.

Static Events:

  • Design: teams must elaborate upon and defend their design choices.
  • Cost: detailing the expected manufacturing cost for the production of 1000 vehicles.
  • Business Presentation: delivering a business case to convince corporate executives that the team’s design will please buyers and be profitable.

Dynamic Events:

  • Acceleration: 75 meters straight line acceleration.
  • Autocross: a coned-off road course to test the maneuverability of the car.
  • Skid-pad: testing the lateral acceleration of the car.
  • Endurance: 22km race incorporating a driver change to test the durability of the car. It is regarded as the most difficult event as only around 40% of the field completes the course.
  • Fuel Efficiency: runs concurrently with the endurance event, determines the fuel efficiency of the car.

The cars are judged on all 8 categories and receive a cumulative score out of 1000 points.

The North American competitions are held annually at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan and in Lincoln, Nebraska.  The foremost competition in the world is the Michigan event; the four-day competition draws 120 teams from schools across the United States, Europe, Australia, South America, and Asia.

For more information, please visit the official website of the Formula SAE Series.