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.