Formula SAE is a competition that allows university students to design and fabricate a formula-style race car. The University of Queensland finished second last year which was a commendable achievement, considering its humble beginnings in 2001. UQ Racing has won the acceleration event for the past two years; however, improvements in the other dynamic events are required for the team to improve its chances of winning.
Drivers have continually complained about the vehicle’s handling in cornering. The car is said to have a significant understeer problem at corner entry and a minor oversteer problem at the corner’s apex (Burt, 2003). At present the team cannot complete any vehicle simulations as there are no user-friendly packages available to the team. It was thus the purpose of this thesis to develop a simple two-dimensional model of the car. This model allows the user to determine the handling characteristics of the vehicle for hairpin and slalom cornering situations.
The models that were developed have a remarkable level of accuracy considering their simplicity. The hairpin and slalom models were proven to accurately represent the vehicle by comparing the handling characteristics determined during simulations to the remarks and complaints made by the drivers.
The developed hairpin and slalom models will now allow Formula SAE personnel to quickly determine an idea as to how a particular vehicle will handle in the future. This should ultimately help the team produce vehicles that have more desirable handling characteristics compared to the 2005 car. This in turn should improve the team’s chances of winning the Formula SAE competition in the future.