University of Melbourne 2018 EV entrant during ‘tilt test’. Image: B. Gaton
University of Melbourne 2018 EV entrant during ‘tilt test’. Image: B. Gaton

Engineering students from around the world will be competing this week in the 20th Formula SAE-Australasia (FSAE-A) event at Winton in Victoria.

Formula SAE is an annual competition where engineering student teams from universities around the world design, build and compete an open-wheel race car to a strict set of design rules called ‘Formula SAE’.

This year’s FSAE-A – which is the Australasian regional event – will take place from Thursday through to Sunday at Winton raceway, and will feature 34 individual vehicles from 28 universities, including overseas entries from New Zealand, India, Japan, Pakistan and Poland.

Melbourne University 2018 FSAE petrol powered entrant. Image: FSAE
Melbourne University 2018 FSAE petrol powered entrant. Image: FSAE

Looking for all the world like a mini F1 car (or a go-cart on steroids), the teams participate in a series of static and dynamic events over four days (including going before a design judging panel), which includes two final two days of on-track events.

Points are allocated to each event as well as for submitted design and system analyses, with the winner being the team collecting the most points by the end of the event.

The history of FSAE dates back to the 1980’s, where it began in the US as a competition class for student developed internal combustion engine (ICE) powered vehicles.

Since then it has expanded to become a world-wide competition, with a second category (for electric propulsion) being added around 10 years ago. This category has fast expanded to the point that this year, for the first time, half of all the FSAE-A vehicles are EV.

New for this year will be a demonstration event showing off prototype autonomous FSAE vehicles, in preparation for the potential addition of these as a third competition class for 2020.

Melbourne University 2018 FSAE petrol powered entrant. Image: FSAE
Melbourne University 2018 FSAE petrol powered entrant. Image: FSAE

Entry to the event is free and the public is welcome to attend. Best days to attend are Saturday December 6 and Sunday 7 when the main on-track events happen. (Acceleration, skid and braking trials are Saturday 6 and the autocross plus 22km endurance race Sunday 7).

For further details and program see here.

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