Cal Poly Pomona’s Formula SAE racing team finished 39th among 136 teams from more than a dozen countries in the annual Formula SAE competition May 9 to 12.
Leading up to the event, student teams design, develop and construct a single-seat Formula 1-style race car with the goal of having the best overall package of design, construction, performance and cost. The team is also judged on their demonstration of a thorough understanding of the car’s systems.
In Michigan, the team was firmly in the top third after the static events, which include sales, cost presentation and design. Students started the dynamic events with a first-place finish in acceleration and followed with top-30 finishes in both skid pad and autocross.
The team entered the endurance competition feeling confident, despite the fact that almost one-third of teams fail to complete the event. Students started well, but in lap eight of 12, the intake system developed a leak and the team failed to finish. Because the endurance event is worth 300 of the competition’s 1,000-point total, the Bronco Motorsports team dropped to 39th place but remained in the top 30 percent.
The competition and experience was worth the effort, said Darshan Bagivalu, team president and a senior majoring in industrial engineering. “All of those nights of struggle were worth it. Regardless of the ups and downs throughout the year, at competition time, you all come together to make it work. This year we really solidified. We each had a role, and we had that trust in each other…. We had a focus on how do we fix this and move forward.”
Among the skills they gained, were technical growth, personal growth, organizational skills, leadership, team building and accountability, according Emma Kalayjian, a senior in CIS, and Matthew Hush, an electrical and computer engineering senior.
“Being part of this team gets you industry ready before you graduate,” Kalayjian said. “This is handy because at the competition events, they said sponsors and employers are talking to students about internships and job possibilities with their companies. They know we understand their industry more than anyone.”