Automotive engineering society places 43rd in car competition

by Justin Ware

The University Society of Automotive Engineers placed 43rd overall at a multi-event competition held in Detroit last month.

The SAE entered a vehicle designed and built by students. Had it not been for throttle complications in the endurance event, the SAE said it believes it could have finished much higher.

The SAE scored high in many single events. The society placed 14th in acceleration and 8th in the skidpad – an event that tests a car’s acceleration rate and cornering ability – in which the SAE set a 1999 record.

The vehicle also placed 33rd in marketing, an event in which the team attempts to sell its vehicle.

Donald Horkheimer, a University aerospace engineering major, noted the finish was good enough to edge out the SAE’s in-state rival, Mankato State University.

The most gratifying moment for Horkheimer came when the SAE received the Powertrain Award.

“It’s a badge of honor,” said Horkheimer, who supervised the construction of the powertrain.

Cornell University placed first in the competition, held May 18-20. More than 100 schools competed.

Weighing in at 450 pounds and with 80-horsepower engines, the cars in the competition will “typically outhandle a Ferrari – easily,” Horkheimer said.

Comprised of 15 University students, the SAE is primarily made up of engineering students but is open to all majors.

Horkheimer has been an SAE member for two years. It appealed to him because it is “one of the only engineering societies that does engineering.”

Garrett Stokburger, a graduate with a mechanical engineering degree, originally became interested in SAE when a friend showed him a picture of SAE-built vehicles.

When asked what he enjoys most about the SAE competitions, Stokburger said, “Seeing all the different cars from all the different schools.”

“It’s a great experience to get involved in. You get to use the things you learned in class,” Stokburger said.

Justin Ware welcomes comments at [email protected]