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OU's SAE team shines at two major competitions this May

Friday, June 1, 2012
OU's SAE team shines at two major competitions this May
By Samantha Skovran, media relations intern

It was a marvelous May for the Oakland University Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) team, who has shone at two major competitions. The team came in ahead of nearly a hundred teams at the recent Formula SAE competition at the Michigan International Speedway and placed third at an unofficial competition in Toronto.

Formula SAE at Michigan International Speedway

The Grizzlies Racing team placed 21st overall in this year’s competition, making it the second best record in school history. 

The team thanked its supporters by posting on its website, “We would not be able to compete without our sponsors, and we appreciate all the assistance we have received this year.”

The competition lasted three days and tested 120 SAE teams from across the globe in both static and dynamic events. Each submission was tested in several different categories including acceleration, endurance, and design. 

“SAE is a complete engineering experience, and is one of the premier design competitions in the world,” said the Oakland SAE advisor Brian Sangeorzan. “The students have the opportunity to design, build, and test a race car, and then use it to compete with teams internationally.”

The students do everything a business would have to do in this situation. They submit reports, market, purchase, and fundraise for their team’s submission, and in this heavily scouted event, any success could result in future employment opportunities. 

“Formula SAE provides the real-world challenges of systems engineering, design and problem solving, along with teaming challenges of collaboration and cooperation,” said SAE International President Frank O. Klegon. “It provides the skills and experiences needed for a well-rounded engineering education.” 

Formula SAE in Toronto

This Memorial Day weekend, the grizzlies racing team joined 20 other teams in an unofficial Formula SAE tournament outside of Toronto. 

While competing, the 2012 OU vehicle experienced several mishaps. The electronic shifter broke and the ignition module burned, yet the Oakland team prevailed, earning third place in the competition. 

Many of these setbacks are normal, explained Sangeorzan, “We finished the car just before the competition at MIS, so we didn’t have much time for testing, tuning, or driver training before these events.”

Students are continuously tested in this type of competition to allow for academic growth, enhance their submissions, and accrue hands-on experience.  

Next up, the team will head to Nebraska for a competition set for Monday through Saturday, June 20-23.

“Learning from these past two competitions, the students would like to improve the engine tuning (for fuel economy), modify the body side pods, add a stabilizer bar, and refine their design and marketing presentations,” said Sangeorzan. “They’ve got to hustle now to make these repairs before Lincoln, Nebraska.”

To learn more about Oakland’s SAE organization visit For more information about OU’s School of Engineering and Computer Science, view the website at