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Formula SAE UBC – Student engineers working together competing against the world

Formula UBC, founded in 1991 by a group of Mechanical Engineering students, is a student organization involved in designing, building and racing a Formula-style race car each year. The completed car is taken to Michigan where it competes against other universities and colleges from around the world.


Formula UBC is a diverse team of talented engineering students determined to get the most of their educational experience. Through passion and commitment, students collaborate as a team to design and build a Formula-style open-wheeled race car that competes in the annual Formula SAE competition. Each member contributes his or her skills in a specialized area of interest such as powertrain, chassis, suspension, electronics, controls or aerodynamics. A dynamic team leader works to synchronize all of these efforts and create a unique vehicle that will proudly represent its school in a field of over 120 universities from around the world. After 27 years of innovative vehicles and inspirational success stories, Formula UBC is poised to carry on the tradition in the 2019/2020 season as it continues to transform students into well-rounded engineers.

What is Formula SAE?

Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) is an international competition between engineering students involving the design, construction, and dynamic testing of an open-wheeled race car. As with all “formula” racing, there are numerous restrictions on the design of the Formula SAE vehicle to ensure that the knowledge, ingenuity, and imagination of competing students will be challenged. Most design restrictions are aimed at driver safety and team parity, the former being of paramount importance. To this end, the cars must meet strict front impact and rollover standards, and engine intake is limited by the use of an intake restrictor. To keep the competition fresh, and allow younger students to gain as much hands-on as possible, the rules also require that no car campaign in more than one competition year.

The Competition

  • Static Events


Engineering Design (150 Points) – Students explain their constructive solutions to a jury of experts from the automotive and motorsport industries in report and discussion. The concept of the design is to evaluate the engineering effort that went into the design of the car and how the engineering meets the intent of the market. The car that illustrates the best use of engineering to meet the design goals and the best understanding of the design by the team members will win the design event.


Cost Analysis (100 Points) – The students are to assume that a serial production of 1000 cars a year will follow the prototype. The cost calculation is discussed with a jury based on a report. The objective of the event is for the participants to learn and understand the manufacturing techniques and processes of some of the components that they have chosen to purchase rather than fabricate themselves.


Business Presentation (75 Points) – The objective is to evaluate the team’s ability to develop and deliver a comprehensive business case that will convince the executives of a pseudo manufacturing firm that the team’s design best meets the demands of the amateur weekend competition market and that it can be profitably manufactured and marketed.

  • Dynamic Events


Acceleration (75 Points) – The cars are evaluated on their ability to accelerate from a standing start over a distance of 75m.


Skidpad (50 Points) – The car’s cornering ability is tested while making constant radius turns. The cars are timed as they navigate the figure 8 shaped course.

Autocross (150 Points) – The objective is to evaluate the car’s maneuverability and handling capabilities as it navigates through a complex course full of tight corners. Drivers are also tested on their ability to adapt to new courses in only two separate timed laps. This event also determines qualifications for the Endurance event.


Endurance (300 Points) – During the endurance event, the cars must prove their reliability in a 22km race. The race demands the utmost concentration of two drivers who switch driving half way through and tests the car through every way possible. No cars may be worked on or touched other than to make minor driver adjustments.

Fuel Economy (100 Points) – This event coincides with the Endurance event. Before beginning the Endurance event, all cars are filled with fuel. After the race, the cars must immediately refuel and the amount of fuel used is recorded. The fuel quantity used in combination with lap times is used to calculate the fuel efficiency of the racer.

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