UOW Motorsport Business Director Anthony Dawson and Associate Professor G John Montagner are both available for interview.
High resolution images of the UOW Motorsport car in action are available for download via Dropbox.
The UOW Motorsport Team are in Melbourne but will be on the UOW campus on Wednesday morning.
UOW Motorsport Business Director Anthony Dawson, M: 0434 009 479
Associate Professor G. John Montagner, M: 0419 444 513
UOW Media Office, T: +61 4221 4227 | E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Ben Long, Media & Corporate Communications Coordinator, UOW, T: +61 2 4221 3887 | M: +61 418 394 712 | E: email@example.com
UOW Motorsport wins international student competition
Student team overcomes setbacks to claim victory at Calder Park Raceway
A broken wing and a serious oil leak weren’t enough to stop the University of Wollongong team (UOW Motorsport) claiming victory in the 2016 Formula SAE (FSAE) competition, held at Calder Park Raceway in Victoria last week (Thursday 8 December to Saturday 11 December).
UOW Motorsport came first overall and first in the petrol car division, as well as placing highly in a number of the individual event categories.
FSAE is an international competition that requires students to design and build an open wheel, formula-style race car. The cars are then pitted against other local and international teams in a series of static and dynamic events, including design, cost, acceleration, one lap sprints and endurance events.
The competition presents students with the opportunity to develop their skills in design, management, manufacturing, communication, research and business operations in a real world environment. The project is managed and run entirely by students
This year 32 teams from eight countries competed, with 22 petrol cars and 10 electric vehicles taking part. Teams from universities in Spain, Poland, Japan, Pakistan, Malaysia, India and New Zealand travelled to Melbourne for the event, along with teams from universities across Australia.
UOW Motorsport Business Director Anthony Dawson said the team realised they were in with a chance of winning while watching one of the final events on Sunday afternoon, which led to some nerve-wracking moments.
“We were watching the endurance event, which involves the car doing 16 laps of the track, and started doing some rough calculations of the results for the other events and realised we were in with a chance,” Anthony said.
“We started getting nervous after that. You have to do a driver change halfway through the endurance and during that the officials take a close look over the car and if they see any major problems they can disqualify you. We had been disqualified in the morning round, but you get a second chance in the afternoon.
“Luckily we made it through, and then as soon as the car crossed the finish line there were hugs all round and everyone was super excited.
“All of the major universities had teams there so to do as well as we did was fantastic.”
Before that, UOW Motorsport had to overcome a couple of major setbacks to even stay in the competition.
“On Saturday we hit a cone at serious speed and broke the front wing in half. That would have put most teams out, but we were able to push through,” Anthony said.
“Then we sprung a massive oil leak and it looked like it would put us out of action, but the engineering team did a brilliant job and managed to fix that.”
The UOW team drew students from each of the University’s faculties. Anthony said there were around 60 people on the team, 30 of whom made the trip to Melbourne for the event.
Associate Professor G John Montagner, from UOW’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences, was with the team in Melbourne and said it was fantastic to see them perform under pressure.
“We try to teach problem-solving skills, but you can never get real pressure in a classroom situation,” Professor Montagner said.
“This event, with its rule constraints and time constraints and having a dozen different tasks to perform, does provide that. When things go wrong - and when you have engineering as complex as you have with these cars, things will go wrong - you can see how they perform under real pressure, and how they solve problems on the run.
“When they broke the wing, they had to make a quick decision about repairing and replacing the wing. They decided they didn’t have enough time or spare parts to repair it so decided to run the car without it, which meant the car wasn’t running to its optimum design.”
Anthony said the FSAE event was a great learning experience for everyone involved.
“The skills you gain are something you wouldn’t get otherwise at university,” he said.
“It gets you out of the books and into something practical and hands on. It’s a real competition with real results and real sponsors. I’m looking forward to applying what I’ve learnt to the business world.”
The FSAE event has proven over the years to be an excellent training ground for students, and a number of organisations use the event for recruiting, including Ford, Toyota, Holden and the Australian Defence Force.
This year US electric car maker Tesla Motors also sent eight representatives from the US to recruit students.