The Mines Formula team, advised by ME Associate Professor Greg Bogin, competed in SAE International’s 2021 Collegiate Design Series (CDS) competition in June 2021.

The Formula SAE competitions challenge teams of university undergraduate and graduate students to conceive, design, fabricate, develop and compete with small, formula style vehicles. The competition is an engineering education competition that requires performance demonstration of vehicles in a series of Static and Dynamic events, both off track and on track against the clock. Each series gives teams the chance to demonstrate their creativity and engineering skills in comparison to teams from other universities around the world.

The 2021 SAE event was held over 3 days at the Las Vegas Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada. The competition presented challenges for 37 internal combustion (IC) engine teams and 20 electric vehicle (EV) teams as daytime temperatures climbed to 115°F. The extreme heat resulted in earlier start times and a shortened schedule to prevent problems related to the heat. Despite the significant impact of the extreme heat, Mines Formula finished 16th overall for IC engines.

Out of the 37 IC engine teams in the competition only 24 teams – including Mines Formula – made it past the initial tech inspection. Mines Formula missed the skid pad and acceleration events due to the shortened schedule and an unexpected fuel injector oil ring failure. However, Mines Formula was one of only 20 teams to make it to the autocross event where they placed 8th. The team qualified for the endurance event, a 22-lap race that has an extremely high attrition rate. Mines Formula was doing extremely well, but unfortunately suffered a catastrophic wheel failure during the final four laps. If they were able to complete the Endurance race they would have placed in the top 5-7 teams.

The team was disappointed they didn’t complete the endurance race, especially with only four laps left. The good news is that the team learned some valuable lessons for next year as Mines ME continues to grow their automotive engineering program.