Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger

Published in MIT News on November 29, 2016 by Camilla Brinkman, Edgerton Center

The MIT Formula SAE team takes a great leap forward to build their 2017 race car.

Imagine if you and a group of students were tasked with designing, building, testing, and driving a Formula-style electric race car from the ground up. Every year.

For students who are members of MIT Motorsports — a.k.a. the MIT Formula SAE (FSAE) team, originally founded in 2001 — that task determines how they spend their free time, on weekends, evenings, and often, January Independent Activities Period as well as summer.

On a recent Saturday in the Edgerton Center’s Area 51 Student Shop (Room N51), about two dozen students on the FSAE team were sitting at large work tables, huddled over their laptops, designing components for their 2017 vehicle using the Solidworks design software. Friendly banter, shared jokes, and periods of serious focus characterized the day. One student, senior Brian Wanek, sat wearing a helmet inside a prototype of what would be the driver’s seat, while sophomore Wasay Anwer measured the frame.

The task for this year — borrowing from a Daft Punk song — is building a harder, better, faster, stronger car for the June 2017 Collegiate Design Series hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Last year’s performance was nothing to shrug at. MIT's team passed all inspections, placed fourth in vehicle cost (spending the least amount of money to construct the car), placed fourth overall in design, and sixth overall in a field of 21 teams from around the globe...

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