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OU's SAE team earns accolades at international competition

Friday, July 1, 2011
OU's SAE team earns accolades at international competition
By Eric Reikowski, media relations assistant

OU's SAE team took 11th place out of 84 teams at a competition in California.
The Oakland University Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) collegiate chapter recently returned from a competition that drew dozens of college teams from around the world.

Overall, OU claimed 11th place out of 84 teams that faced off in the Formula SAE California event held June 15-18 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California.

Along with competing in track events in acceleration, endurance, skid pad and autocross, the team also demonstrated business skills by presenting a sales and cost analysis. Their engineering abilities were showcased during a series of design-oriented events.

Hard work and preparation fueled the team’s drive to success. In May, they participated in a Formula SAE Michigan competition and used that experience as a tune-up before heading out west.

“We build a race car from the ground up every year, so having two competitions was very beneficial for us,” said Evan Fischer, OU SAE president. “It gave us extra time, extra experience and added extra value with the car.”

Following the Michigan event, team members primed the vehicle for California by adding several upgrades, such as a new fuel tank, and performing more than 30 hours of testing.

Amid scenery and sunshine, the California contest featured plenty of highlights from an OU squad pitted against many larger, more lavishly funded schools.

In fact, this marked the best performance in university history, with the team posting multiple school records and other notable achievements. Oakland’s car was the first to pass technical inspection, which all teams must complete before entering events.

“During technical inspection, judges analyze nearly every aspect of your car and teams often fail this inspection and have to fix issues with their car,” said Stephanie Moore, OU SAE marketing manager. “There are also similar inspections to pass such as brake and noise, which we were the second car to pass through. All our preparations during the year allowed us to pass these inspections and avoid any major breakdowns during the competition."

The trip was made possible through funding from the OU School of Engineering and Computer Science.

To learn more about Oakland’s SAE chapter, view the website.