UNC Charlotte’s Formula SAE team, 49ers Racing, returned this weekend from the SAE International Collegiate competition at Michigan International Speedway, where they placed in the top 10. Competing against 119 other teams from across the globe, 49ers Racing earned impressive rankings in multiple events, including second in fuel economy, third in endurance and ninth overall.
Tyler Stover, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and engineering science for the William States Lee College of Engineering, serves as the team’s faculty mentor and accompanied the students to Michigan.
“During the review portion, the judges stopped by our paddock and gave the team some really informative and detailed feedback,” said Stover. “The main judge stated we scored extremely high and improved over last year.”
The internal combustion engine car, designed and built by mechanical engineering students who were led by team captain Wes Goodwin, performed extremely well, using some innovative approaches. As an example, the team opted to forego a full wing aero package, which is favored by most teams and often perceived as the standard. Alternatively, they used a nontraditional design and, to the surprise of other teams, overtook four full-aero cars in endurance, capturing attention and pulling the spotlight to the 49ers.
“The team represented the University well,” said Stover. “We will need to construct a trophy case in the Kulwicki Motorsports Lab soon.”
Formula SAE offers several categories of competition, including the internal combustion engine category. A different team of UNC Charlotte engineering students will compete in the electric vehicle category in Michigan, June 14-17.