If you joined us at our #THEORANGEEFFECT EOMM earlier in the year, you might remember hearing the distinct sound of revving motorbikes. But motorbikes they were not. Instead, they were deceptively small single-seater open wheeler creations known as Formula SAE. Don’t know what Formula SAE is? Here’s a short introduction to the international competition from UNSW Redback Racing team:

At the end of each year, the Society of Automotive Engineers Australasia (SAE-A) holds the Formula SAE-A competition (FSAE-A). University student teams from around the Australasian region design, build and race a small formula style car, competing in a number of static and dynamic events which simulate competition for a design contract from a fictional small company. 22 universities competed at Calder Park Raceway in Melbourne last December, including 6 teams from New Zealand, Japan, South Korea and Poland.

Redback Racing, from the University of New South Wales, has recently become affiliated with Cars for Hope. With a team numbering in the thirties, Redback Racing was one of the largest teams in the FSAE-A competition. Last year’s car, the RB14, was the first iteration of a three year design cycle. The team opted to move from a monocoque/spaceframe chassis to a full aluminium honeycomb monocoque, as well as a redesign of the suspension system to accommodate smaller 10” wheels. This shift was in line with the team’s design philosophy: a high performance light and agile vehicle that is reliable, driveable and easily manufactured.

RB14 was an ambitious design – it was the lightest car at the competition, weighing in at 152kg. The team almost managed to come second in the Cost Event, following closely in a tradition of strong performance in this category but losing out to Tokyo Denki University. However, drivetrain issues prevented the team from running the car in dynamics events. It was a sad end to the competition, but a lot was learned from last year’s car. With thorough documentation and deep reflection, the team is looking to make a strong comeback this year.

“Despite the many difficulties and challenges experienced throughout the year, we were able to achieve great things as a team, such as solid knowledge transfer from the previous generation. Next year we will be returning to FSAE-A 2015 with an evolutionary design and a greater desire to win, focusing strongly on reliability in producing an open wheeled vehicle.” – Andy Lam, Redback Racing Team Leader 2015

UNSW Redback Racing’s RB14:
Power Train: Internal combustion; 98 RON
Frame Construction: Aluminium honeycomb monocoque
Dimensions L/W/H: 2539mm / 1352mm / 1171mm
Wheelbase/Front Track/Rear Track: 1600mm / 1123mm / 1105mm
Weight: 155kg
Engine: Aprilia SXV550
Bore/Stroke/Cylinders/Displacement: 80mm / 55mm / 2 / 553cc
Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
Maximum Design Power: 48kW @ 9,500RPM
Maximum Design Torque: 58Nm @ 6,500RPM

Matthew is the Company Secretary at Cars For Hope, taking care of things behind the scenes as well as writing, editing or photographing much of what appears on the website. He's an aspiring Mechanical Engineer, and is an avid photographer, cyclist and motorsports-watcher in his spare time. Check out Matthew's thoughts and adventures on his website.

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