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.
Competition Points Distribution (/1000)
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.