UOW Motorsport wins second place at Australasian formula car race
Students succeed in real life application of engineering and business skills
University of Wollongong (UOW) students have taken out silver at the Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) Australasia Formula 2022 race held in regional Victoria last weekend (11 December).
The competition draws university students from across Australia and South-East Asia to put the skills learned in the classroom into practice through building an open-wheeled, formula style racing car to compete against other students.
UOW Motorsport’s car - a 220kg race-car powered by an 80kW all-electric 400V powertrain nicknamed Annie - was built and supported by a team of 19 students from the Faculties of Engineering and Information Sciences and the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities.
Annie was one of 20 electric vehicles (EV) competing. In just three years the competition has swung from being mostly petrol cars to 80 percent EVs. Next horizon for the industry is automated vehicles.
The UOW team took out second place overall in the EV division and in the individual events, they came first in figure-8 cornering, first place for endurance, which is often considered the toughest event, and 3rd place in efficiency.
The competition gives students a real-life application of skills working on a commercial project, and they leave with unique skillsets in engineering, management, leadership, teamwork, marketing and finance.
Team Principal Ryan Hollis, who is working towards a degree in mechanical engineering, said UOW Motorsport has taught him how to bring engineering into real world problems.
“From managing the team over the last two years I have learned the importance of working collaboratively to produce the best outcome. The team forces each member to extend their learning outside of the classroom, improving both technical and soft skills.
“The technical side requires members to learn both independently and collaboratively in topics that are beyond their university development. The soft skills are significantly developed by having the need to work together to produce a car that aligns with our goals and the need for the business and technical teams to work together to keep the team progressing.
“Being a part of the team also hones time management skills as many of our members balance study, part time jobs as well as many late nights spent in the workshop/design room.
“Overall UOW Motorsport produces well rounded professionals and creates highly skilled employees for the future,” Mr Hollis said.
The team’s Technical Director Brandon Shaw, who is studying a double degree of mechatronics engineering and computer science, said he has grown a lot from the competition.
“I joined the team in 2019, and over the last four years the practical experience has been one of the biggest advantages - from designing mechanical components and electrical printed circuit boards, to writing the code to make the car run.
“Learning how to integrate the different systems and keep fixing small problems until everything works together, is an unforgettable experience that provides valuable skills that you just can’t get from the classroom alone.
“Not to mention all the friends we made not just within the team, but with other teams in the competition,” Mr Shaw said.
Business Director Meg Sloan is currently studying for a Bachelor of Information Technology.
“I joined with no experience in what we were doing, not being from a business degree background. I spent the last two years learning all I could about the business side of the event, starting in the media team in 2021 and eventually being voted in as Business Director.
“I have learned management skills, with a fantastic team who made it easy for me with their willingness to go above and beyond.
“I believe the most important thing I have learned is teamwork and perseverance. While there were points throughout the year where I did not believe we'd make it to the competition, I was constantly assured by my teammates that it was possible with their relentless work and dedication. I could not be prouder of the team and their accomplishments,” Ms Sloan said.