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Student Formula SAE team going for gold

“I came to the University of Melbourne to do physics,” Master of Mechanical Engineering student, Will Page (pictured right) explains “MUR Motorsports inspired me to do engineering.”

2016 marks Will’s fourth consecutive year working on MUR Motorsports, the University of Melbourne’s Formula SAE team. Originating in the United States in 1979, this international series of competitions challenges university student teams to design, build and race a formula style racing car.

While the Melbourne School of Engineering team primarily consists of capstone year students, Will suggests interested students should follow his lead and get involved as early as they can.

From his early days, supporting the engine team in 2013 to his full time technical role in 2014 (which he determinedly juggled with his undergraduate studies in Science) and his work with the much larger team at the Delft University of Technology in 2015, Will’s breadth of experience puts him in good stead to lead the charge this year.

“As Chief Engineer, my role in 2016 is to build a team and a car that has the capacity to win this competition. The most vital thing is allocating our scarce resources of time, money and people.” Will explains, “I’ve been spending a lot of time analysing the 2015 competition to get a complete understanding of the event and the strategy behind successful teams.”

The 2015 MUR Motorsports team

The 2015 MUR Motorsports team placed second in a field of over 30 local and international universities, the highest placement of a Melbourne University team in 15 years of competition. They also placed first in the endurance event, the single largest event of the competition.

And Will has set his sights even higher for the year ahead “I believe we can win this year.”

With 1000 points up for grabs, 675 relate to the dynamic performance of the car and the remaining to static features such as design and cost.

Will attributes the team’s runner up position in 2015 to the strategic optimisation of the resources available to the team “If other teams had operated at their dynamic potential, we wouldn’t have been second.”

Students at work in the MUR Motorsports garage

Students at work in the MUR Motorsports garage

In the coming months, Will and his team will focus on the technical management of the car, developing the concept for a vehicle that will score as highly as possible through the competition’s dynamic events while still taking the static components into account.

While Will doesn’t deny the buzz he gets from his hands on involvement building the car and his experience in the drivers’ seat, he derives most of his enjoyment from the people. “I personally get a lot out of contributing to a team.” Will acknowledges, “It’s an amazing feeling when a group of highly intelligent final year Master of Engineering students value your contribution. We spend so much time together (40- 80 hours a week). It’s like we’re running a small business so on top of the friendships that form, we inevitably take away so many skills that can be applied to the workplace.”

The autonomous program provides students with hands on engineering experience while working in a large team to address issues such as planning, budgeting, risk management and reporting.

Will has found the involvement of alumni and industry invaluable but believes the key to success will be simplicity. “It’s all about finding elegant solutions to complicated problems.”

The MUR Motorsports team would not have a car to put on the track without continued support from the Melbourne School of Engineering and its generous sponsors including 101 Collins and Boeing.

To find out more, please contact MUR Motorsports Business Manager, John Rbeiz on j.rbeiz@murmotorsports.com

 

 

 

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