LTU finishes third in nation for presentation at Formula SAE competition
SOUTHFIELD—Lawrence Technological University’s Formula SAE race car team earned third place honors in the presentation event portion of the 2021 Formula SAE competition. A total of 132 collegiate teams from throughout North America participated in the event.
In Formula SAE, teams of students are challenged to conceive, design, engineer, build, and race a small, high-performance, Indy-style race car. The teams act as though a manufacturing company has contracted them to build a car for less than $25,000 for the non-professional weekend racer. Cars are judged for acceleration, skid pad testing, fuel economy, and endurance. There are also competitions for design elegance, financial acumen, and a presentation—and the latter of which is where the LTU team scored high.
Judges rate the presentation teams on how well teams covered the development of technical, research, development, manufacturing, supply chain, finance, marketing, sales, and human resources concepts in creating a smoothly functioning team and a solid race car. Organization, delivery, enthusiasm, use of visual aids, and answers to judges’ questions also add points.
This year’s non-racing SAE competitions were held virtually online from February through April. Leading the business presentation team was Varvara Gromakova, who graduated from LTU May 8 with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.
“We talked about the organization of our team, the marketing of our team, how we tracked documents and transferred knowledge,” said Gromakova, whose formal titles with the team were chief operations officer and electrical subsystem lead.
And while presenting in person with other teams around can be fun, Gromakova said that “honestly I think we enjoyed having the online experience. It gave us an opportunity to prepare better. It really helped us develop our presentation skills.”
The judges’ response to the LTU presentation was enthusiastic. Wrote one: “Excellent presentation. You brought something unique that I did not see in other presentations: adding a safety officer to your team. This demonstrates that safety is important to your team, which is one of the top priorities in the industry.” Wrote another: “Professional ISO 9000 compliant slides were fantastic! Adding the safety officer in the organizational chart shows a strong emphasis on safety—OUTSTANDING! This was not seen elsewhere, yet is a no-brainer. Good Gantt chart and budget pie chart. Great handoff between speakers.”
The LTU Formula SAE team is scheduled to take its car to the track at Michigan International Speedway in July to compete against other colleges and universities. (The competition was delayed from its usual May date due to the pandemic, after being cancelled entirely in 2020.)
LTU has been involved in the Formula SAE competition since 1981, when it hosted the event in its early years. The faculty advisor is Wuming Jing, assistant professor in LTU’s A. Leon Linton Department of Mechanical, Robotics, and Industrial Engineering. More about the LTU team at https://www.ltu.edu/formulasae/.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is a private university founded in 1932 that offers nearly 100 programs through the doctoral level in its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for the salaries of its graduates, and U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best Midwestern universities. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, “theory and practice” education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.
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