Portland State University Viking Motor Sports (VMS) just returned from the 2012 Formula SAE West competition in Lincoln, Nebraska, placing 16th overall out of nearly 80 universities from around the world – the best finish ever for VMS and the first time that PSU has placed in the top 20.
Formula SAE is a student design competition organized by SAE International. According to the organization, “The concept behind Formula SAE is that a fictional manufacturing company has contracted a design team to develop a small Formula-style race car. The prototype race car is to be evaluated for its potential as a production item. The target marketing group for the race car 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 VMS team made a tremendous effort to be as prepared as possible for this year’s competition. Knowing that they would be scored on a variety of dynamic and static events, including cost, business plan, design, acceleration, skid pad, autocross, and endurance, the team made all design decisions with respect to the car based on the group’s goal to score more than 700 points (out of a total of 1000). In order to do so, they focused on reliability and testing. This year they were also able to complete the manufacture of the car with enough time to get 13 hours of run time before the competition. “This allowed us to sort out many issues, train drivers, and record valuable data to ultimately maximize our points,” says the team.
The effort and the time spent on preparation paid off for the team. Not only did the team finish in the top 20 for the first time in PSU Viking Motor Sports history, but “We were one of only 20 teams to score points in every event, including cost, business, design, acceleration, skid pad, autocross, and endurance,” says VMS. This year was also only the second year that the PSU team has completed the endurance event, an extremely important consideration as it constitutes 40% of the total points.
The team is looking forward to doing even better next year. In the meantime, congratulations Viking Motor Sports for your outstanding finish at the 2012 Formula SAE West competition in Lincoln, Nebraska!
Another example of the ingenuity and effort of Maseeh College students reaping rich rewards.
For more information about PSU Viking Motor Sports, including photos from the Nebraska competition, visit the group’s website or Facebook page.
All photos Keith Lundquist Photography.