Rookie Tales from Formula SAE: Day 3

Alex Van Overbeeke-Costello is an intern in the 3DEXPERIENCE Lab and a passionate member of the UMass Lowell Formula SAE team. Recently, she joined her team in Barrie, Ontario  to represent SOLIDWORKS and compete in Formula North, where 45 teams from across North America showcased their small, formula-style vehicles. All Formula SAE vehicles are  conceived, designed, fabricated, and developed by students. Catch up with Day 1 and Day 2.

Days 3 and 4 of competition are all about Dynamic events. Skid Pad is an event that tests the turning capabilities of the cars. Autocross, is a race track made up of mostly turns and spreads a wider course. The goal of autocross is to complete the track fast. Day 4 is just endurance. This is a long race that only 8 out of the 19 teams who ran it, competed. This is an all day event that tests the car’s reliability, as well as the driver’s skill.

Unfortunately, River Hawk Racing did not pass the Brakes test during tech inspection as our spool broke during the drive. As heartbreaking as it was, if we had passed, we would have destroyed the car worse during the dynamic events. So, we did the only thing you can do at this point, we sat back and watched. We watched other teams perform, we walked around the paddocks and learned from as many people as possible. We got Tim Horton’s for the 3rd time that day.

Featured here is a few of my teammates as well as myself, standing behind our race car. We had the privilege of walking the paddock, speaking to all the teams, talking about certifications and why SOLIDWORKS is beneficial for them. We passed out SOLIDWORKS zip ties and Safety glasses! It was great to hear from all of the other teams about their experience at competition. I got to meet with an EV team who completed their first competition ever as a team. They unfortunately did not get all the way through tech, but they worked hard and experienced the competition. Other teams had been competing for years and had very high budgets and gave great insight on how to get to where they were at. The best thing to do at competition is learn from as much as you can.

About 22 internal combustion teams competed and about 22 Electric teams competed. We all got “paddocks” in this parking lot at the Molson Centre in Barrie Ontario. Next to us, was the “Ragin’ Cajuns”. They were also into their third year as a team. In our hardest times, our most stressful moments, and our most important, the Ragin’ Cajuns from Lafayette Louisiana were there to offer support. This team, who was busy all on their own, went out of their way to offer help working on the car, delivered us ice cold water, and give us moral support. This team is the reason why I wish SAE was more like the FIRST Robotics Competition. This team deserves an award for their sportsmanship, leadership, compassion, empathy, and attitude toward the competition. They got through every event and worked cohesively as a unit and should be extremely proud of themselves. As new CTO for my team, my goal is to become more like them.

Wrap up Alex’s experience at Formula North on Day 4!

Sara Zuckerman

Sara Zuckerman

Sara Zuckerman is a freelance writer currently working for SOLIDWORKS Education. She has a B.A. in Writing, Literature, and Publishing from Emerson College and recently earned a Certificate in Web Development from MassBay Community College. Sara is excited about utilizing this blog to combine her two passions, writing and technology.
Sara Zuckerman

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