The Formula SAE Australia competition involves teams of Engineering students from universities around Australia designing and building from scratch their own race car within a set budget. Points are awarded based on design and cost, as well as acceleration, fuel efficiency and endurance.

Held every year, it gives students the opportunity to apply the mechanical knowledge gained as part of their degree.

Studying Engineering at the University of Tasmania gives students a greater opportunity to be involved with the design and building of the race car, says Julian Cook, a 4th year Mechanical Engineering with Honours student.

“It’s the best design project I’ve ever been involved in. This is one of the few opportunities available at modern universities to take a project right from mere speculation, to CAD model, analysis, hands on manufacture and then finally real world testing. There are few experiences more rewarding than that,” he enthused.

“We’re really lucky at the University of Tasmania. We do a lot more hands on than other universities. Others outsource almost all their fabrication to local engineering businesses,” said Julian.

The hands-on approach involved in the Formula SAE team gives students a huge head start in the practicalities and real world skills required in the workplace.

“Employers love it. It proves that you’re not just a theoretical engineer” says Adam Flower, a fourth year student also part of the team.

“It involves some experimentation with different types of materials and prepares engineers for the industry, so it’s much more than just building a race car.”

“You end up with a world ranking, and many students from the big teams do very, very well, jumping straight into Formula 1, NASCAR, V8 supercars, as well as making a strong start in industry,” said Adam.

The project also gives students the opportunity to get honours in their degree for their involvement.

“FSAE is a platform you can use for your final year project required for honours” he said.

Many big employers also come to the final competition in Victoria looking for talented students, and the program produces some of the best engineers.

The University of Tasmania team is on track to compete in December this year, with their car almost completed.

Read more about the Bachelor of Engineering and its 9 specialisations

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The SAE Team, pictured.