Vanderbilt Motorsports takes car to 2012 Formula SAE competition in Michigan

After a two-year gap, a Vanderbilt Motorsports student team returned to Michigan in mid-May for the 2012 Formula SAE competition.

Team members were undaunted after an 88th place finish out of 105 university teams. “We competed in every event, and we were one of only 48 teams that competed in the 22 kilometer endurance event,” said team member Seth Schrage. “We are proud to have made it through every event. That was an accomplishment in itself.”

SAE 2012
Vanderbilt Motorsports team members (L-R) Brandon Dimmig, Eric Bramlett, Michelle Goodman and Supriyadi Tasim on the track at the Michigan International Speedway.

Vanderbilt Motorsports hasn’t entered a competition since 2009 and everyone on the team is new to formula car competition.

“We got a lot of compliments from judges on our accomplishments as a newly assembled team. By talking to judges and other teams all of us learned exactly what we want to do for next year and our heads are racing with inspiration and ideas for our 2012-2013 car,” Schrage said.

The cars are judged in a series of static (presentation, engineering design and cost analysis) and dynamic (acceleration, skid-Pad, autocross, fuel economy and endurance) events including technical inspection, solo performance trials and high-performance track endurance.

Six students took the Vanderbilt car to the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn May 9-12 for the U.S. competition. Michigan is one of two U.S. locations for the 2012 competition, and Michigan is the largest and longest running event. In mid-June 80 teams will compete in Lincoln, Neb.

Brandon Dimmig drove autocross and endurance. Eric Bramlett drove skid-pad and endurance. Seth Schrage drove brake test, acceleration test, and autocross. Schrage said Michelle Goodman, Robert Hills and Supriyadi Tasim ensured that everything ran smoothly, and that the car and the team had everything they needed. “Since many teams have more than 30 student, their presence and support was invaluable,” he said.

SAE 2012-2
Brandon Dimmig drives #129 at the track.

Formula SAE is a student design competition organized by SAE International, formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers. Vehicles entered in Formula SAE competitions must be conceived, designed, fabricated and maintained by student team members without direct involvement from professional engineers, automotive engineers, racers, machinists or related professionals.

The competition promotes excellence in engineering as it encompasses all aspects of the automotive industry including research, design, manufacturing, testing, developing, marketing, management and finances. The competition has expanded internationally to Australia/Asia, Brazil, Germany, Italy and the U.K.

“We can’t wait to implement everything we learned at this competition next season,” Schrage said.