University: Monash University Location: Melbourne, Australia Fuel type: Unleaded Petrol (98) Number of Students: 40 Engineering disciplines or other degrees: Mechanical Engineering and a Business student who deals with media and sponsorship
We caught up with team leader Hamish to discuss how he manages one of largest teams participating in the competition, why they didn’t use an E85 or electric fuel source and what makes the competition worthwhile to engineering students.
How do you manage such a large team and keep them committed to their own assigned group
“What we do is we have junior members from all year levels and we divide them up into the various sections: aero, chassis, powertrain and electrical and suspension. There are usually 6 or 7 students in each section along with section leaders, a chief engineer and the team leader.”
“We do section presentations and everyone tries to sell their section [to the prospective junior members] and after that students usually want to be in all of the sections! The junior members then do a 3-2-1 preference of which section they want to join. Pretty much by the end of the year everyone’s happy with whatever section they’re in, however suspension is usually the most popular one. We have a lot of mechanical students and I think suspension appeals most to them.”
Why did your team choose to build a ULP 98 car?
When asked about using a different fuel type, Hamish said “not electric, we can’t afford good technology to make ourselves competitive. We looked into E85, did a points analysis and worked out it would be a gain of about 1 point and for the amount of work that would go into we decided it wasn’t worth our time.”
Which of the following resources during the year, which would you do without and why: money, time, students or knowledge?
“Money is helpful, although knowledge is definitely the most important, I believe. Trying to retain that [knowledge between each year] saves so much time and effort down the track.”
What makes the FSAE competition worthwhile? Why did you get involved initially and eventually decided to lead the project?
“I’ve been team leader for about 2 months; I don’t really know I’m not really a huge car person. My mate who was the team leader [at the time] loved it and so I decided to get involved. I love working on the car, I find that really enjoyable and just working towards something, I find that really satisfying. Also seeing the gain, university is so theoretical; it’s nice to do something practical!”