Aug. 6, 2019

Re-engineered UCalgary race car posts dynamic results

Record-setting finish for Schulich Racing team at major Nebraska competition
Schulich Racing is celebrating a summer of success after a top ten win in Lincoln, Nebraska
Schulich Racing is celebrating a summer of success after a top ten win in Lincoln, Nebraska Justina Contenti

It was their first major competition with aerodynamic bodywork and smaller tires, and for the University of Calgary’s Formula SAE team, the result was their biggest win ever.

Schulich Racing, which pits a two-thirds-scale Formula 1 style race car against university teams from around the globe, is celebrating a summer of success after a top 10 win in Lincoln, Nebraska, which saw the team take ninth place out of 80 internal combustion entries.

Major redesign pays off in record finish

The team record capped a four-year rise through the international rankings and a year-long push to redesign almost 90 per cent of the car, named the SR-20, with a focus on enhancing the vehicle’s speed, reliability and drivability. 

“This year we set some really ambitious goals for ourselves and the SR-20, and we knew that to achieve them we would have to push our designs and improve the overall vehicle performance to excel in Lincoln,” says Peter Skrajny, Schulich Racing team captain. 

“I am very proud of how we were able to come together as a team. It was amazing to see our hard work pay off.” 

Multi-faculty student effort

That included smaller 10-inch tires, which required a newly designed wheel assembly, and significant powertrain upgrades including a custom oiling system, all designed by the team, which includes 60 students from the faculties of engineering, science, business and arts.

Twenty-nine of the team travelled with SR-20 it being the 20th iteration of the race car to Nebraska for June’s multi-disciplinary competition.

The Top 10 ranking places Schulich Racing among other elite engineering and technology-focused post-secondary institutions in North America such as Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, and Rutgers University. 

Scoring high in both technical and racing events, Schulich Racing placed fourth in cost, eighth in skid pad and ninth in engineering design at the completion.

Aerodynamic package not an easy upgrade

One of the technical improvements Schulich Racing made this season was to debut the team’s first-ever aerodynamics package on the car. The addition of front and rear wings on the vehicle helps increase downforce and available traction, in turn improving the vehicle’s handling.

While incorporating aerodynamic components into the car can have many benefits, it’s a design decision that also comes with a lot of challenges. 

“The effective design of an aero kit is not straightforward, as aerodynamic considerations need to be balanced with other competing objectives such as weight and increased drag. Adding a rear wing is not an automatic performance booster,” says Paul Ziade, Schulich School of Engineering professor and Schulich Racing faculty adviser.

“The team was committed to adopting a methodical approach to learn as much as possible about their design through simulation and track testing. It is truly outstanding how the team came together to produce a great race car.”

Recruiting underway for next big season

As a completely student-run team, all engineering design work is completed by students, who are not only applying their knowledge gained in the classroom, but are developing practical workplace skills.

The team is already looking at how they will improve on this success next season, beginning with the recruitment of new members in September.

Find out more about Schulich Racing.