Kettering Formula SAE Team Has Best Finish in Team History at Competition

The Kettering University Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) team had its best finish ever at the Formula SAE Michigan competition May 18-21, at the Michigan International Speedway (MIS) in Brooklyn. The team finished fourth, ahead of 95 other competitors.

“This excellent result is confirmation that Kettering University is a world-class engineering school,” said Dr. Jennifer Bastiaan, team faculty advisor and Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering.  “To reuse a Mark Twain saying, ‘It’s not the size of the bulldog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the bulldog.’”

For the competition, students design, build and test their own Formula 1-style open-wheel race car, gaining valuable knowledge on project management, team collaboration and budgeting. Teams of undergraduate and graduate students from around the world took part in the event.

Aubrey Gorm (’22, ME) said time management was the hardest part of the competition. 

“This is just as much a management competition as it is an engineering competition,” said Gorm, the team lead and subsystem lead for aerodynamics and business. “All of Kettering’s SAE teams are unique in the way that all of our members must manage going to classes full-time, going to work full-time and going to their vehicle workspace full-time. It’s a lot to juggle, to say the least, but the reward is great if you can successfully pull it off.”

In addition to the overall fourth-place finish, Kettering placed fifth in the autocross and endurance events, sixth in the acceleration event, seventh in the fuel-efficiency event, 12th in the design event and in the Top 20 in the skid path event.

Gorm said the team is already thinking about how it can improve for next year. 

“After reviewing what went right for us and what went wrong, we have a clear understanding of what needs to change with next year’s car,” she said. “Our main focus is to improve our electronics reliability and chassis setup, aka suspension tuning.”

Gorm said the team is always looking for new members who  are willing to “learn and get their hands dirty.” The team will have a sign-up booth during the Orientation Club Expo in July, or interested students can stop by the garage in the C.S. Mott Engineering and Science Center on Saturdays.