We build a race car.
The University of Waterloo Formula Motorsports team (UWFM) designs, builds, tests and competes with an open-wheel formula-style race car. We compete in the Formula SAE Series, across North America and occasionally in Europe.
We are all students at the University of Waterloo.
Work on the car is completely extra-curricular. While it may not contribute directly to our grades, it is often a direct application of what we study in class, on top of being a source for life experience and skills that classes alone wont teach us.
We like doing.
The team (and competition) are built around action. If you want to achieve something, you make the effort to go out and achieve it. We like inculcating a spirit of curiosity and ambition. You don't have to work in professional racing for this to be a useful skill in life.
We compete in Formula SAE.
New car built every year, annual competitions across North America and occasionally Europe.
We have 6 sub teams.
Aerodynamics, Business, Chassis, Electronics, Powertrain and Suspension, each specialize in their particular area of the car.
Formula SAE Series competitions challenge teams of university students to conceive, design, fabricate, develop and compete with small, formula style vehicles.
Every car must follow the rules laid out by SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers). The intention of the rules is the keep the cars safe and competitive, but leave a very wide range of solutions open to student designers.
At competition, about 65% of the points come from dynamic events (Acceleration, Skidpad, Autocross and Endurance), while the remaining points come from static events (Engineering Design, Cost Analysis, Business Presentation and Efficiency). The competition is designed to reward cars that finish all events, but a team cannot be in the top tiers of the competition without a strong static performance - you need more than just a fast car to win.
A key thing to remember is that most (if not all) teams raise and manage their own funds to get their car built. Therefore most teams have an established sponsorship program, getting industry professionals and companies to donate cash, infrastructure, services or even their technical expertise to the team - hence the company decals on the car.
Wings on the car create down-force, making us faster through turns on track. The aerodynamics team does the fluids analysis for the airflow around the car and over the wings, links the aero effects to vehicle dynamics, builds and tests the wings, and makes the car look awesome.
Business handles the team's sponsorship, marketing, finances, recruitment and safety. They are the reason the team continues to exist, and success at competition is unlikely without a strong business team managing the important things.
The chassis is essentially a large bracket that every assembly on the car mounts to. Chassis team works on optimizing the structure of the frame to suit our packaging and stiffness targets while ensuring the least possible weight, which is important, since the entire frame is made with steel tubes.
The main engine harness, the power distribution module, the electro-pneumatic gear shifting system, as well as the entire data acquisition wing of the team are designed and maintained by the electronics team. Their tasks directly improve the reliability of the car as well as the quality of the data all systems receive.
The engine is a stock CBR 600 RR motorcycle engine, but the intake, exhaust, cooling, driveline and fuel system are all designed in-house. Moreover, tuning and modifying the engine to get the most power reliably with the lowest weight and center of gravity are also a large part of the powertrain team's work. With the largest number of moving parts, reliability and power tend to be the largest priorities for powertrain.
Keep the tires on the ground at all times, keep the tires happy, know what your mass, center of gravity, etc does for your lap times and with that in mind, design a suspension system that minimizes your lap times. Not a simple task, and suspension doesn't pretend it is.