An annual event sponsored by SAE International, the Formula SAE® competition challenges about 120 student teams from colleges and universities throughout the world to conceive, design, fabricate, and race a small, formula-style, autocross racing car. For purposes of the competition, students are asked to assume that a manufacturing firm has engaged them to produce a prototype car for evaluation as a production vehicle. The intended sales market is the nonprofessional weekend autocross racer. Therefore, Lawrence Tech’s car must have very high performance in terms of its acceleration, braking, and handling and must be low in cost, easy to maintain, and reliable. Few vehicle design restrictions are specified in order to give teams the greatest flexibility to express their creativity and imagination. The prototype vehicle also should cost less than $25,000 to produce.
The final product is then taken to the competition, where it is critiqued by experienced judges and compared to the other cars entered. Each entry must undergo a technical inspection and solo performance and high-performance endurance track trials in acceleration, skidpad, autocross, fuel economy, and endurance. Judges also consider each team’s presentation and engineering design, taking into account their problem-solving skills, innovative thinking, and teamwork.