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Breakthrough for ECU Motorsports Engineering

Tuesday, 01 December 2009

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December 2009 saw the ECU Motorsports Engineering team competing for the second time at the Australasian Formula SAE competition. A total of 21 teams entered, from every mainland Australian state, plus New Zealand, Japan, Thailand, India and Iran.

Conducted at Victoria University near Melbourne, and run over 4 days by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the competition consists of seven segments, three static and four dynamic. The aim is to determine which group of tertiary engineering students can design, build and compete with the fastest and most innovative racing car within the guidelines specified by SAE.

In 2009, ECU Motorsports Engineering made its second ever entry in this competition, at which an outstanding placing of 6th overall was achieved.

ECU in Design Finals

Furthermore, the ECU team were one of the four teams selected for the Design Finals segment of the competition.

"As Australia's only University offering a Motorsports Engineering course, it was especially pleasing to make the Design Finals," said ECU Motorsport Coordinator John Hurney. "This part of the competition identifies the soundest and most innovative design as well as recognising the skill with which that design was executed."

Consistent scoring the key

In 2009, ECU Motorsports finished every segment of the competition, including the gruelling Enduro course which requires each car to run 4 non-stop at high speed for over 30 minutes. By doing so ECU joined a select group of just 11 teams to score in all seven segments of the competition.

"The key to the competition is to keep the car running reliably," commented ECU Motorsports Lecturer Dr Kevin Hayward. "One has to remember these are experimental cars designed to push the boundaries of technology, it was an absolute tribute to the ECU students that their car survived the rigors of the competition so well."

Foundation for future challenges

ECU’s success at the 2009 competition also laid a firm foundation for future challenges. Such was the level of technology used on components such as computer engine management, the braking system and the suspension design that much of this will successfully carry over to the 2010 car and beyond. This will allow the ECU

Motorsports Team to concentrate on optimising chassis design, advanced electronics functionality and use of aerospace materials.

"I'm thrilled that after just 2 years we have reached this level," said ECU Motorsports Technical Director for 2010, Jon Grove. "The FSAE project and competition is a terrific learning experience for all of the students involved and I can’t wait to get started on this year’s car."

Since returning from the competition the ECU Team has already conducted several test sessions with the 2009 car and gained valuable data to put towards making the 2010 car even more competitive.

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