Because the College of Engineering at the University of Georgia was founded in 2012, clubs affiliated with the college are relatively new. One of those clubs is UGA Motorsports which is now around three years-old.
UGA Motorsports, a student-led group, recently become a chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers in February and they are currently building a car to race in both a regional and national platform.
Daniel Palmer, the design team head for the Formula SAE, or FSAE, chapter, said although the group is fairly new, it has already set goals and dates for their plans.
They plan to make an appearance through a regional competition hosted by Kennesaw State University in March. Their main goal, which they are already registered for, is a national competition in Lincoln, Nebraska that will take place June 19-22.
The chapter sets ambitious goals as “most teams take 18 months to build a new car, but we’re building our first car ever [from] February to March,” Palmer said.
Regarding the building process, mostly everything is student manufactured and built from scratch.
Palmer said the chapter has “to build it ourselves and figure out how to piece all these different parts together.” They have different sub-groups such as powertrain (engine), suspension, electronics, ect. that communicate together to build a functioning race car.
Josh Pierson, Vice President and Powertrain Sub-Team Leader, said the group is taking engine out of a sport bike motorcycle and strapping it into the back of the race car.
The opportunity of building the car allows “a lot of learning about vehicle dynamics and things like that, that you’re just not going to get in regular education,” Pierson said.
Although the FSAE chapter is new, the Motorsports organization has been around working on a variety of different projects and events, including a Mario Kart competition, pizza sales, and attending races connected to the Society of Automotive Engineers in Atlanta. One of their first major projects was an engine swap for an engineering professor.
He had “a tahoe with a blown engine and he bought a crate engine online,” Pierson said. “We helped him swap the engine out over the course of a weekend which was kind of our first big project.”
Christopher Parrish, a senior mechanical engineering major and president of Motorsports, believes that one of the organization’s important aspects is the real world application.
It’s all about “help[ing] people who want to be in the automotive engineering world get their hands dirty, and figure out how cars actually work,” Parrish said.
Motorsports has its own shop behind Driftmier Engineering Center where they currently house two mustangs that were donated to the organization.
“We work on those from time to time,” Parrish said. “Unfortunately, pretty much all of our resources have to go into Formula now.”
They hope in the future to race in other competitions, such as the 24 Hours of Lemons race, where the club can only spend $500 on its car. Currently the College of Engineering funds Motorsports as a whole.
“Dean has made an investment in us to basically return what they’ve given us as far as an education and to invest in it so that we can compete nationally with other colleges of engineering,” Parrish said.
While the organization may not have any titles yet, Palmer is hopeful as the 2019 Formula SAE competition approaches.