Monday, April 13, 2015

Building a Race Car: UC San Diego Student Engineers in Action

Student filmmaker will tell the story in documentary

In 1997, a group of engineering students from the University of California, San Diego heard about the Formula SAE competition – a student design competition organized by SAE International (formerly Society of Automotive Engineers). The idea behind the competition is that a fictional manufacturing company has contracted a design team to develop a small formula-style race car, which will be evaluated for its potential as a production item.

Intrigued by the challenge, the student group gathered in a garage and put their textbook knowledge to work. With the completion of a race car built from scratch, Triton Racing was born.

TR-14, the 2014 Triton Racing car
Triton Racing is UC San Diego’s Formula SAE team, and it continues to produce cutting-edge race cars for the annual Formula SAE competition, held this year at Lincoln Airpark in Lincoln, Nebraska June 17-20, 2015.

The competition tests the ability of the students to apply their engineering knowledge and encompasses all aspects of the automotive industry including research, design, manufacturing, testing, developing, marketing, management and finances.

The student-led group at the UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering grows in numbers and knowledge each year.

Nathaniel Goldberg, a sophomore mechanical engineering student and Director of Public Relations for the team, felt that the process of taking a car from production to competition should be documented on film. He and his teammates are making that happen.

“In a conversation with some of the other guys last year, we realized that we have a story to tell,” said Goldberg. ”We want to share that story with as many people as possible, so we decided to make a documentary.”

With the production of the 2015 car already underway, Goldberg is bringing in filmmaker and UC San Diego student Keita Funakawa to begin work on what he hopes will be an invaluable documentary.

“This year’s car is going to be highly competitive, which is one reason we want to film the process leading up to competition.” said Goldberg.

Want to know why? Check out the unique design of the 2015 car, TR-15, on the Jacobs School website!

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