Chinese team prepares for Formula SAE race at Lawrence Tech
Wednesday, April 27th, 2011
A team of 10 college students and two faculty advisors from Shanghai University of Engineering and Science (SUES) have spent the spring semester at Lawrence Tech preparing for the Chinese Formula SAE competition in the fall.
SUES began competing in Formula SAE last year. Lawrence Tech has had a partnership with SUES for several years, and Chinese university’s administrators decided to take advantage of Lawrence Tech’s long history of SAE competition.
“Your Formula SAE team is very good, so we have come here to learn,” explained Hao Chen, one of the faculty advisors.
The annual competition challenges students to design, build, and compete with a scaled-down Formula-style racer. The event is sponsored by SAE International, a global professional organization of engineers and others involved in aerospace, automotive, and commercial vehicle industries.
The time spent at Lawrence Tech is the equivalent of a senior project for the Chinese students, who are majoring in automotive engineering. Several students are also taking courses.
The students expressed their gratitude to Lawrence Tech’s Formula SAE team, especially team leader Aaron Hanson. “We keep asking questions and they are very patient,” one of the students said. “Aaron has worked very hard to help us.”
The Chinese students are nearing completion of its vehicle many months before the competition in China, but like the Lawrence Tech teams they are rushing to meet a deadline. Their stay here ends May 16, and they must have their vehicle ready for shipping.
Sending the vehicle back to China creates challenges that the Lawrence Tech students don’t face. If they don’t take it apart, they will have to send it by ship in a container. In that case, they will have to find a way to protect all the parts from the corrosive effects of salt in the air.
Chen said he hopes SUES will send another Formula SAE team to Lawrence Tech, but first funding will have to be found. Some of the students hope to return to Lawrence Tech to study for master’s degrees.