RaceAfter finishing fabrication and assembling the vehicle during the early part of the Spring, during ME408, as much testing as possible is done on the vehicle before competition in June. Data is collected using sensors and a data box, and these data can be processed thru math-channels to obtain valuable information. This is the process of verification and validation, where the original design is being verified and validated by actual collected data. At competition, it is important to have actual data to show design judges that the product performs as designed. A portion of the semester is also spent preparing for the business presentation, cost, and design reports at competition.
Formula SAE may not be "green", but where else are you going to get a bunch of young men and women to forgo parties, beer drinking, etc., to spend countless hours learning things they don't even know they are learning!
"Racing" is the hook to get students to apply themselves way beyond what they would normally do.