News • August 09, 2021

SAE club places 4th in Formula competition

SAE club places 4th in Formula competition

Riverside, Calif. (June 25, 2021) – The temperature was not the only thing that was hot in Las Vegas for the Formula SAE International Competition.

In just its fifth year of racing, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) club from California Baptist University finished fourth overall in the competition held June 16-19. The Lancers placed ahead of all the other California schools and others such as Purdue University, University of Nebraska–Lincoln and Iowa State University.

“CBU students overcame not only the heat wave in Las Vegas but the extreme pressure of competing against the nation’s top schools in a grueling Formula SAE vehicle competition,” said Dr. Phil van Haaster, club advisor and department chair of aerospace, industrial and mechanical engineering.

With temperatures at 115 degrees, the schedule was adjusted to an earlier start time of 5:30 a.m. During the endurance event, where two drivers each drive the car for a total of 22 kilometers, it was 102 degrees.

“Even with the hot weather of Vegas, the car performed extremely well,” said Tyler Carlisle (’21), one of the four CBU drivers. “I am very proud of how well our team did at this year’s competition. I am very excited about where the club is currently and know next year’s car and team will be even stronger.”

Out of 36 teams, CBU was one of only seven to pass the technical inspection on the first day. The team worked on the car, known as Lancer 4, for two years since the last year’s event was canceled due to the pandemic. However, the work was not done for the 15 members who attended the competition. During inspection, the team had to modify the exhaust in order to pass the noise test. Later, a part malfunctioned during the autocross event. A fix was made in time to allow the team to get back on the track.

SAE club places 4th in Formula competition

Jordan Fabbrini, a mechanical engineering senior and the incoming president of the SAE club, described lessons he learned for next year’s car.

“Keep designs as simple as possible. Complex parts are difficult to try and fix or make and when it's race day, you don't have much time to fix the car,” Fabbrini said. “Our car is very competitive with the top schools. We just need to keep making fine adjustments and make sure to test the car as much as we can. Having extra testing this past year really boosted driver confidence.”

The SAE competition includes presentations on cost and design as well as dynamic events such as acceleration and autocross. The presentations were virtual earlier in the year. In design, CBU tied for 20th place out of 140 teams. In Las Vegas, the car placed fifth in endurance and third in efficiency, which is determined by how much fuel the vehicle uses in the endurance run.

“We are ecstatic about the results of the competition,” said Katie Mast (’21) club president and the design lead on the driver controls. “It has been an amazing week for the team as we have been able to witness the culmination of two years of hard work pay off. The team left even more excited about the development of Lancer 5.”

Fabbrini credits the team’s success to alumni who established the program.

“The team has had great guidance from our previous two presidents, Spencer Judy and Katie Mast,” Fabbrini said. “It's quite an accomplishment for such a small school to be competing and beating out some of the very well-known and prestigious engineering universities.”

In their first competition in 2017, the Lancers placed 67th. In the following years, they placed 44th and 31st.

“I am very proud of our team and have high expectations for the graduated seniors entering industry as well as the advancing juniors taking over for next year,” van Haaster said. “When considering the engineering effort invested into building a competitive racing vehicle from scratch, this performance is truly remarkable.”

Contact CBU Marketing and Communication

Vice President for Marketing and Communication:
Angela Meluski

8432 Magnolia Avenue
Riverside, CA 92504