Formula SAE is a series of annual competitions that challenge teams from across the world to design, build, and race formula style cars. There are multiple competitions around the world with hundreds of internationally competing teams. UMSAE Polar Bear Racing competes at both the Formula SAE Lincoln, and Formula SAE Michigan events.
There are two parts to each competition, each with their own series of events known as the static and dynamic events.
The events award the team points towards a grand total, the team with the greatest total wins the competition overall.
Some events, such as tech inspection, award no points but are required in order to proceed to other events for safety reasons.
A comprehensive cost report detailing all incurred costs (raw materials, manufacturing procedures, as built parts etc...) in producing the designed vehicle is submitted to the prior to the competition and is reviewed by a panel of judges. This includes two real case scenarios where the team must respond to a challenge related to the cost or manufacturing of a given vehicle component.
The objective of the engineering design event is to evaluate the engineering effort that went into the design of the vehicle and how the engineering meets the intent of the market, as detailed by the rulebook. Students will be judged on the creation of design specifications and the ability to meet those specifications, computer aided drafting, analysis, testing and development, manufacturability, serviceability, system integration and how the vehicle works together as a whole. Each of these parts of the engineering product development cycle will be judged within the following subsystems: Suspension, Steering, Brakes, Drivetrain/Powertrain, Chassis and ergonomics.*
The objective of the presentation event is to evaluate the team’s ability to develop and deliver a comprehensive business case that will convince the executives of a corporation that the team’s design best meets the demands of the amateur, weekend competition market, including Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) Solo, and that it can be profitably manufactured and marketed. For the purpose of the presentation, teams are to assume that the judges are to be a mixed group of corporate executives who may have experience in marketing, production and finance as well as engineering. One or more team members may make the presentation to the judges. The presentation itself is limited to a maximum of ten (10) minutes. Following the presentation there will be an approximately five (5) minute question period.*
The Acceleration even evaluates the car's ability to accelerate in a straight line. A 75 meter long straight track is used. The vehicle starts at a standstill and the time it takes to travel the 75 meter long track is timed. The team who's car has the lowest time will win this event.
The Skid-Pad measures the cornering ability of each vehicle on a flat surface in a constant radius turn. The driver must drive the car around twice around a set of concentric circles, one will be driven in a clockwise direction, the other counter-clockwise. The second lap around each circle is timed and the team with the lowest calculated average time will win the event.
The Autocross event tests each car's ability to manoeuvrer and handle on a tight course. Autocross is a point to point time trial race on a course that is just under a kilometre in length. Each car proceeds through the course reaching average speeds of between 40 and 50 km/h. The team with the lowest time wins.
The Endurance heat is a 22 km closed course event designed to evaluate the overall performance and durability of each teams vehicle. Multiple vehicles are on the track at any given time and can average speeds of around 55 km/hr and can reach speeds as high as 110 km/hr. Teams that complete the heat are awarded points relative to time. Vehicle fuel efficiency is also measured.
*Description from 2018 Formula SAE Rulebook