The process of creating a successful race car begins early in the year with the car's design. Before any tubes are cut and welded, the entire car is designed using CAD (Computer Aided Design) software. This allows us to integrate all the components together and resolve potential problems before manufacturing begins. We manufacture the majority of the parts on the car; parts such as the engine, shocks, and tires are purchased, but even with purchased parts a great deal of customization takes place. For example, while the engine is originally used on a Honda motorcycle, the complete intake, exhaust, fuel, and control systems are custom, leaving the engine design team with a great deal of freedom.
Duke University Motorsports competes in the Formula SAE Collegiate Design Series under the Internal Combustion Division. Each year, the team designs and builds an open-wheel, formula-style race car from the ground up, testing and iterating upon each component as we go. Throughout the process, our team maintains a strong focus on integration and collaboration between subsystems in order to produce a cohesive final product.
Our goal is always to ultimately take our finished car to competition at the Michigan International Speedway. There, we are judged in a series of events which measure the safety, efficacy, and profitability of our race car in accordance with industry standards.
Events are divided into two categories: Static and Dynamic. Static events include Cost, Marketing, and Design Presentations, while Dynamic events include Acceleration, Skid Pad, Autocross, and Endurance. Teams are also required to submit a written design paper, cost report, and technical documents before competing, as well as pass a technical inspection to ensure all rules and regulations have been met and cars are safe and ready for handling.
Duke University Motorsports strives to take as many members as possible to Michigan each year. The competition is not only our chance to demonstrate our season of hard work, it’s also an unparalleled learning opportunity to see incredible feats of engineering from our peers and connect with students and industry professionals under a shared passion from around the world.
For more information on Formula SAE, please visit https://www.fsaeonline.com/