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DEAKIN’S Formula SAE team, Deakin Race Technologies, achieved its best result ever with a 2nd place in the Fuel Economy category and an overall top five finish in the international race car design competition.
Twenty-two teams of Engineering students from New Zealand, Germany, Japan and across Australia competed in the Formula SAE Australasia competition between December 13 and 16 at Werribee. In the competition, the teams designed racing cars that were judged on a range of factors including speed, presentation, cost and fuel economy.
Deakin students worked for a year to build the successful race car at the Geelong Campus at Waurn Ponds and only a small margin separated Deakin’s design from the team that finished in third place.
Co-team leader and chief design engineer Brendan McGinniskin said the group had refined the car built in previous competitions to achieve this year’s success.
“It was really an evolution of the car that was built last year with technical improvements,” he said. “We refined the design and engineering to iron out the kinks from 2006, which helped make it faster and more reliable.”
The second placing in the fuel economy section was a result of the team’s use of a single cylinder engine, rather than the four-cylinder engine used by most other universities. The single-cylinder design meant that only 3.51 litres of fuel was used over the length of the 22km endurance test. The four-cylinder cars used between five and six litres of fuel in the event.
Mr McGinniskin said the fifth placing overall was a great, but well-deserved, result.
“We worked hard and we were aiming for a place in the top five. We knew that the car was good enough, but it just depended on everything going well over the weekend,” he said.
Formula SAE was launched by the Society of Automotive Engineers in the USA in 1980 to provide students with the opportunity to work on a complex and relevant engineering project in a team environment. Students manage all aspects of their entry, including scheduling, budgeting, fundraising and cost control.
Deakin University Engineering students also competed in the new SAE Robotics Competition in which they finished in first place.
Mr McGinniskin has been part of the Formula SAE team for the past three years and said the competition provided him with extra skills and experience above his class work.
“It gives you the hands on experience that you would usually have to work in the industry to get,” he said. “I have been offered a job with Ford next year and I think that my involvement in SAE assisted in that,” he said.