Southern California colleges test at Irwindale

Irwindale, Calif. - - Teams of young engineering students from a number of southland colleges and universities will be at Irwindale Speedway on Monday, May 5. On tap is an first-ever "intramural" test session which will afford a final chance to...

Irwindale, Calif. - - Teams of young engineering students from a number of southland colleges and universities will be at Irwindale Speedway on Monday, May 5. On tap is an first-ever "intramural" test session which will afford a final chance to run their SAE formula-style racing vehicles and to compare notes before shoving off later this week for national competition in Detroit, Michigan.

The century-old Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) began this annual engineering competition in 1981 by inviting teams of undergrads to design, engineer, and construct small formula-style (single seat - open wheel) racing vehicles.

The collegians then take part in week-long competition that includes static inspection and engineering design, solo performance trails, and a high-performance track endurance.

That national competition will take place in Pontiac, Michigan beginning on May 14 and has drawn 140 teams from colleges across the USA as well as from Canada, Australia, Finland, and Japan. (Find a complete list of the schools and additional details at www.sae.org)

On Monday, Teams from the University of Southern California, Cal Poly (Pomona and San Luis Obispo), and a number of other west coast schools will take part in a final "test and tune" session at the Speedway.

"We're trying to build a tight bond between our So Cal teams," said Mark Ewing of the SC School of Engineering. "We hope to raise the level of their game. This is the epicenter of the auto industry and yet our teams don't get near the support that they should. We're trying to remedy that."

Getting the local college teams together at Irwindale Speedway for a "dress rehearsal" prior to the tough competition that they face in Michigan will hopefully be a working part of that remedy.

SAE member-engineers will be on hand at Irwindale to critique and assist teams.

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