University: University of Wollongong (UOW)
Location: Wollongong, Australia
Fuel type: Unleaded Petrol (98)
Number of Students: 30
Engineering disciplines or other degrees: Engineering-law, Engineering-commerce double degrees
Team leader Chris was happy to discuss this year’s car and how they develop team members at UOW.
How did you improve on the university’s entry last year? What makes this car unique?
“Paying more attention to detail is the main thing. We have tweaked suspension, brakes and the chassis has also been revamped. Our only major change was from a diff to a spool. We didn’t want to go to far and end up with a car that had too many unknowns.”
Why did your team choose to compete in the Unleaded Petrol category?
“We have always run ULP 98 and we did consider switching to Ethanol but we ran out of time amongst other things. There were clearance issues with pistons as well as a few other setbacks. Ideally we would have run with E85.”
What are some of the sacrifices the individuals in the team have had to make to get ready for this competition?
“At least 40 hours of solid work a week plus study. Aside from that say goodbye to your weekends, especially around competition and exam time. University results do tend to suffer but I believe this project is miles ahead of class from a learning point of view. It’s also tough on your social life with less time to spend with friends, although SAE is a good way to make new friends. My girlfriend hates the massive amount of time we have to put in.”
Explain how you or the team have applied something learned in coursework to this project?
“SAE makes it easier to understand mechanical design and many of the other subjects. Most of the guys come in during second year with limited knowledge and they are still learning fundamentals such as free body diagrams. We like to throw all new students in the deep end because spoon feeding someone causes them to miss out on all of the details when they have to try and explain it to someone else. When push comes to shove and things need to get done the previous team members are happy to offer their advice.”