SAE Collegiate Design Series

About Formula SAE® Series

In 1981, SAE International (formerly known as Society of Automotive Engineers) developed and managed the first Formula SAE student competition with assistance of Ron Matthews, Professor at University of Texas. SAE International operated the only Formula SAE competition for 17 years before its partnership with IMeche (Institution of Mechanical Engineers) in England where the brand “Formula Student” was developed. Since its inception, Formula SAE has expanded and includes many spin off events. In the United States there are two competitions managed by SAE International. Internationally, the expansion of Formula SAE/Formula Student has exploded to over 20 competitions currently hosted by engineering societies or private business.

The SAE International Formula SAE program is an engineering design competition for undergraduate and graduate students. The competition provides participants with the opportunity to enhance their engineering design and project management skills by applying learned classroom theories in a challenging competition. The engineering design goal for teams is to develop and construct a single-seat racecar for the non-professional weekend autocross racer with the best overall package of design, construction, performance and cost.

The concept behind Formula SAE is that a fictional manufacturing company has contracted a design team to develop a small Formula-style racecar. The prototype racecar is to be evaluated for its potential as a production item. The target marketing group for the racecar is the non-professional weekend autocross racer. Each student team designs, builds and tests a prototype based on a series of rules whose purpose is both to ensure onsite event operations and promote clever problem solving. The vehicle will be inspected in a series of tests to ensure it complies with the competition rules; in addition, the vehicle with driver will be judged in many performance tests on track. The rest of the judging is completed by experts from motorsports, automotive, aerospace and supplier industries on student design, cost and sales presentations.

Formula SAE promotes careers and excellence in engineering as it encompasses all aspects of the automotive industry including research, design, manufacturing, testing, developing, marketing, management and finances.

In 2006, Dartmouth College (partnered with SAE International) created the fuel alternative event Formula Hybrid using Formula SAE cars with gasoline-electric hybrid power plants.