Formula SAE at UNMFormula SAE is an International engineering-design competition where teams from universities design and build a Formula-1/Indycar style racecar to compete against other universities. The cars are judged in many aspects including Design, Cost, Acceleration, Autocross, and Endurance.
Formula SAE at UNM started in 1997 and is now in its 20th year. The program is run by Dr. John Russell of the UNM Department of Mechanical Engineering. The program is now a 3 semester program that begins in the Spring of each year and is an alternative path to graduation from the normal Mechanical Engineering path.Students that take the FSAE-path are given the equivalent credit of 2 mechanical-engineering electives and Design 5.
In the spring semester, students take ME406L where they learn about racecar design and begin to set design parameters for their car. Over the summer most of the computer design and calculations are done so they are prepared to present their design for build approval at the beginning of the Fall semester, when they take ME407. The car is fabricated during this Fall Semester, over winter-break, and into the beginning of the Spring Semester. In the spring they take ME408 where they test the vehicle and collect data for verification and validation, in preparation for competition in June.
The team usually consists of around 35 mechanical engineering students, though students from other engineering disciplines such as electrical engineering have joined in the past. The team divides into smaller subteams to focus on designing and building a specific system on the car, such as Chassis, Suspension and Steering, Brakes, Aerodynamics, Engine, and Drivetrain.
Students gain valuable skills of working in small groups to working with a larger team, skills in systems engineering, and the experience of applying their knowledge from the classroom to a real and tangible project where they will see if what they designed, works. These skills and experiences are valued in industry, where many FSAE alums get job offers before graduating for companies such as Ford, GM, Chrysler, Honda, Sandia National Laboratory, Boeing, and more!