Campus: CSU Northridge -- February 11, 2005

CSUN Formula Race Car Team to Compete in European Competition

A team of Cal State Northridge engineering students will take their knowledge abroad and apply it on the track as they compete at a European student race car competition this summer.

CSUN's Student Automotive Engineers (SAE) team, Matador Motorsports, will compete against approximately 80 teams at the European Formula Student competition held at the Bruntingthorpe Aerodrome in Leicestershire, United Kingdom, in July.

Teams will compete in static events including design and cost sales representation as well as in dynamic events such as acceleration, skid pad, auto cross and endurance races.

"For most of the members of our team, (this competition) means everything," said Melih Sacli, a senior mechanical engineering student and project manager of the race car. "It is our first chance to show who we are and what we can do in a competitive real world situation. It is our chance to apply what we have learned in our engineering education and build something that will perform in a worldwide competition."

The design, construction and racing of the car are part of a two-semester culmination senior project that emulates the industry. The students designed and analyzed the car during the fall 2004 semester. This semester they will manufacture and test the race car, as well as raise money to construct the car and fund transportation to England.

"It takes several years for a car company to develop a new car," Sacli said. "We are trying to do this in one year. We don't have the experience nor the resources that a car company has."

The team often invests more than 50 hours a week in the lab constructing the car, sometimes working until sunrise, Sacli said. All while balancing social lives and other classes.

"This is already very difficult to accomplish by itself, yet we are trying to do this while we are trying to graduate," Sacli said.

Stewart Prince, faculty advisor for Formula SAE said, "The goal of the class is to give graduating students a 'real world' design experience before graduation."

Matador Motorsports has competed in the national FSAE, held in Detroit for the past ten years. Sometimes competing against 150 schools nationwide, Matador Motorsports has placed as high as 10th place, and placed 14th in the world last year.

"I expect us to be the fastest car in the competition," said Sacli. "This year we will win this competition and bring back multiple trophies from England."

Contacts: Marc Tolentino or Carmen Ramos Chandler (818) 677-2130,

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