We successfully competed in Formula SAE 2012 at Michigan International Speedway. Osprey Racing was founded in January 2010, with the goal of bringing UNF’s first Formula SAE vehicle to Michigan in May 2012. We were 100% successful with this objective.
We arrived to Michigan a day early were able to register the night before the competition. This saved us several hours of waiting in line the next day. One of the most important parts of being successful at competition is to be first in line at each event. Since the events are first come, first serve, it’s important to arrive as far in advance as possible to each event.
Since we registered the night before, we were able to go directly to technical inspection. Every team’s car is subject to an extremely close inspection which can last up to an hour. The inspection checks for rules and safety compliance . When a team passes technical inspection they are award a Level 1 sticker. There are 3 levels that must be passed before your car can even drive.
The Level 2 sticker is awarded once you pass noise and brake. The noise test measures how loud your car is. Vehicles must be below 108dB in order to pass. Next the vehicle is checked to make sure all four wheels lock up when the brakes are applied.
When Level 1 and 2 are complete, you are eligible for tilt test. T he car is placed on a device that tilts the car 60 degrees. This is to make sure the car doesn’t leak and won’t flip over when driving on the track. When you pass tilt, you are given the level 3 sticker.
Osprey Racing passed all of these inspections with flying colors and we received all three stickers. This is extremely impressive for a first year team. Even highly experience teams can struggle with these tests. Of the 120 teams that show up to Michigan, only about 60% of the teams pass these inspections, many on the 2nd or 3rd attempt. We were very proud to pass all of these on our first try.
On the second day, we completed all of our static events: design, business, and presentation. We weren’t the best but we did a good job for a first year team. A design judge said, “You guys are the best first year team I’ve ever seen. ”
On the third day, we began to have oil leaks and needed to repair the issue. After 3 hours of troubleshooting, the problems were diagnosed and repairs were being completed. Repairs were completed at the last minute and we were able to complete the skidpad and acceleration events. Some teams cars suffered failures and they were not able to complete these events. Again we’re extremely proud to finish the events. We were also able to complete the autocross event later in the day.
The next day we were scheduled for endurance at 9am in the morning. Endurance is the final dynamic event and only 50% of the schools even finish the event. If the car breaks down at any point, you are disqualified from the event. It’s a grueling a 10-lap 22km course with a mandatory driver change.
Endurance is the pinnacle of the competition and every team wants to finish. The even lasts all day. One team’s vehicle caught on fire. The driver escaped safely without any injuries and the fire was put out quickly. Another team lost a wheel while driving. Other teams suffered mechanical failures and had to be towed off the course.
Our car was driving extremely reliably and we didn’t suffer and mechanical failures. Unfortunately during our driver change, a judge noticed two drops of oil coming from our car and ordered us off the course. We were sad we didn’t finish endurance but we’re extremely proud of our accomplishments.
We want to thank all of our sponsors for helping us realize this dream and for your support. We couldn’t have done it without you. Please stay tuned for our Sponsor Appreciate event. Details to follow.