The culmination of months of hard work and long hours paid off for California State University, Northridge’s Matador Motorsports as the team finished seventh overall — ahead of UC Berkeley, USC and UCLA and the team’s best finish since 2007 — in June’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) event in Lincoln, Neb.
The Matador Motorsports team consists of CSUN mechanical engineering students who work together throughout the year to design a Formula-style race car as part of a two-semester senior design class.
Students compete in a series of driving events, such as vehicle acceleration, maneuvering, endurance and non-driving events that include business pitches, a vehicle cost report and a design competition.
This year’s competition, which featured a total of 110 schools from the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada and Brazil, saw CSUN near the top of several categories. The Matadors finished in the top 10 in car design (seventh), presentation (fifth), car maneuvering (fifth), endurance (fifth) and fuel efficiency (third).
“Every year is difficult, taking a group of students, putting them together and expecting them to design and build a Formula-style race car against the best schools in the world,” said Stewart Prince, CSUN mechanical engineering professor and race car team faculty advisor. “But [the students] pulled together and built a great car, the lightest in the entire competition. From an engineering prospective, that’s quite an accomplishment.”
The CSUN’s Tseng College contributed to the student team’s success by donating smartsheet online project management tool licenses. To show their gratitude, the Motorsports team brought its 2015 car, which finished 12th overall in the competition, to the Tseng College on July 25 and let staff take pictures inside the car and ask the team questions.
Shortly after the event ended, the new crop of mechanical engineering students who will take part in next summer’s SAE competition were hard at work in Jacaranda Hall’s Haas Lab.
Led by student Alicia Eugenio (who Prince said is the first female to be the team’s project manager), the 25-person team has worked throughout the summer on the initial stages of the upcoming race car.
“We have people on this team who are very passionate,” Eugenio said. “Some of the students have been coming in [to work on the car] six or seven days a week.”
Following the great performance in June, Eugenio said the Matador Motorsports team hopes to up the ante in 2018.
“We are definitely hoping for a top three finish [in 2018],” Eugenio said. “I think we have a winning car, but just need to tune a couple of things.”
For more information, visit the Matador Motorsports website.