Mizzou’s Formula SAE Racing team cites preparation as key to success in international competition
Over the past few years the Mizzou’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Racing team has raced its way to success — a success in direct correlation with the work ethic of team members in refining their vehicle. This effort has resulted in four top 10 wins at competitions in the United States and abroad in 2010 — quite a busy year. The team took first place at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville last April; seventh place out of 57 teams at the FSAE California competition in June; and second at the Goodyear Shootout in Akron, Ohio in October.
The team’s most recent achievement took place in Werribee, Australia. The 2010 SAE Australasia competition was held Dec. 9 to 12 welcoming teams from England, Australia, Korea and Japan. Mizzou was the only team to represent the United States, and they made a solid impression, placing sixth out of 28 teams.
“I’m really most proud of our success in Australia. It was an unknown environment for us, The track was totally different and basically all we could bring was our race car, two wrenches and a gauge to check the tire pressure,” team president Ryan Sobotka, a junior in mechanical and aerospace engineering, said. “We were really prepared, allowing us to cruise through the competition.”
Sobotka noted the group members’ passion and investment in the team as the most important factor contributing to their success.
“We are always thinking about the car and how to improve it. I’ll get online at 2 a.m. and have a message from a teammate on how to improve the design,” Sobotka said.
The team began working on a new vehicle in November that they plan to race in Michigan in 2012. And on a different note, some of the team members are collaborating with the medical industry as part of a “prototype team” — a new outlet for their mechanical passions.
“They approach us with ideas for new mechanical instruments and we set about designing and engineering them,” Sobotka said. “There is so much value to the practical application of what we learn in the classroom.”