Tonight on Grassroots Motorsports LIVE!: Formula SAE

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The future of motorsports is being invented at colleges across the country through the Formula SAE program. Tonight we’ll host our local crew from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida and their amazing 2018 competition car. The ERAU Motorsports crew will talk about the path from concept to reality for the car, and their path from students to professionals in the real world of motorsport.

Join us live at 9 pm eastern on Facebook and YouTube for Grassroots Motorsports LIVE! Presented by CRC Industries.

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View comments on the GRM forums
sleepyhead Dork
9/19/18 12:28 p.m.

oohhh, fancy coutdown timer

unfortunately, I don't have the willpower to stay up that late sad

guess I'll just have to watch the replay

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
9/19/18 7:58 p.m.

And we're going live in about 2 minutes. 

freetors Reader
9/19/18 9:05 p.m.

Will be watching this when I get time. I've been wanting to build a personal FSAE car for SCCA autocross for a really long time. I've got a lot of unique and unusual ideas that I want to pursue.

gencollon New Reader
9/19/18 10:57 p.m.

In reply to freetors :

Unique and unusual ideas, which you're totally going to share with us in this thread?

freetors Reader
9/20/18 8:53 p.m.
gencollon said:

In reply to freetors :

Unique and unusual ideas, which you're totally going to share with us in this thread?

So I've been a long time lurker on the FSAE forum (I would post and stuff but I gave up trying to get them to approve my account) and one member's posts have always been very influential to me. That member is "Z", Erik Zapletas. Most people dismiss him as some old crackpot, get off my lawn type person, but if you really read and dissect his posts he is a truly brilliant mechanical mind. In a forum filled with young engineers who want to complicate everything and design their suspension to the nth degree, he extols the virtues of simplifying. And looking back through his old posts, his message has been unwavering for at least 10 years!

Zapletas's two main points are that an SAE car should be light as possible, and have as much downforce as possible. Another point of his is that SAE cars really don't even need "suspension" at all, but having some small bit of compliance can be useful, and that double wishbone and pushrod actuated dampers are stupid and overcomplicated for SAE. He believes beam axles are a very good compromise for their intended use because they can be very light when done correctly, offer really good and predictable camber behavior, and they are really easy to mount unsprung aero to. I basically want to build Z's car. The high points of this would include, 10" wheels, single cylinder engine, beam axles front and rear (rear likely being a de Dion), monoshock front and rear, roll stiffness from longitudinally connecting the front and rear axles with z-bars, fully unsprung aero undertray, and because this particular suspension design requires little to no inherent chassis stiffness I would use the lightest flimsiest frame I could make that would pass the rules. EDIT: Forgot to mention 250 pounds would be the goal.

I know you'll ask about the Z-bars and what the heck they are so I'll just touch on them. First of all they're not named after Z, it's more a description of the shape. It's essentially works in the opposite way that a conventional sway bar. And an interesting point, you can fully suspend a car with two longitudinal z-bars and one lateral z-bar. Here's a sketch by him that will explain it better than I can.

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