UW Formula Motorsports Attends FSAE Michigan 2011

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 The highlight of every racing season at UWFM is Formula SAE Michigan.  This year, it was held at Michigan International Speedway during May 11-14th, 2011.  Although our team did not compete with our own entry this year, 16 members still attended the competition as volunteers and spectators.

As a volunteer,  I spent three days at Michigan International Speedway working as a track marshal for the Endurance Event and manning the official refueling station.  Although nothing beats racing your team’s car against other schools from all around the world,  volunteering with the organizers is still a rewarding experience.  At the fuel station, I got up close and personal with almost all the cars present at FSAEM as they came in for fuel.  This is the part where I really enjoyed the most; although I have become familiar with the UWFM car over my past three years on the team, seeing all the other FSAE cars reminds you that there are many different ways that teams have used to solve the same problem.  For example, there are many different ways in which the electronics on the car can be packaged.  I can’t say that one particular design is better than all the rest, but I am now certainly inspired to improve the way we do electronics on our own car!

After enjoying the lovely fumes of the fuel station for two days, I worked the corners of the Endurance track on the last day.  Yes, I did spend quite a bit of our time chasing down knocked-over cones, but at the same time we had a clear line of sight to seeing all the FSAE cars in their natural habitat on the track.  Along the way, we got to handle the racing flags, watch the lap record being broken time after time, and meet students from other teams and people in the industry who were working as judges and volunteers that day.  Personally, I spent most of the day meeting and chatting with engineers from Ford and GM as we worked together as volunteers.  Now that’s a valuable opportunity right there!

While some members volunteered to work for the FSAE organizers, other members from our team spent their time shadowing the FSAE teams from Iowa State University, Northwestern University,  University of Louisville, and UOIT.  We are very grateful that these teams agreed to let us shadow them as they battled throufgh their 4 days of competition.  All of us learnt a great deal to help us prepare for the 2012 season and it allowed us to experience the competition despite not being a competitor. 

 

Comments

SB
All I can say is that I feel for you guys for not being allowed to participate in this competition. Although you may not have learned as much in the competition as if you were competing, you did get another invaluable life lesson...a real world taste of unfairness. Unfortunately, it happens a lot in this world. Sometimes you'll cause the injustice, other times you will have nothing to do with it. Learning early on that life isn't fair and that you need to prepare for the inequality of the system truly is a life lesson well learned. Wish you guys luck!
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