Sapienza Corse

Formula SAE


The concept behind formula sae and formula student is to develop, build and compete a Formula-style race car, based on several rules, which is evaluated in international competitions from judges who work in engineering sector.

The maximum score for most of the Formula Sae and Formula Student events is 1000, divided behind the different proves and competitions.

Design Event 150
Cost & Manufacturing Analysis Event 100
Presentation Event 75
Acceleration Event 100
Skidpad Event 75
Autocross Event 125
Fuel Economy Event 100
Endurance Event 275
Total Points Possible 1,000

In addition to these events, various sponsors of the competition provide awards for superior design accomplishments. For example, in 2018, our team has won the best powertrain installation, sponsored by Mercedes-AMG, and the best engineered brake system, by Bosh. At the beginning of the competition, the vehicle is checked for rule compliance during the Technical Inspection. Its braking ability, rollover stability and noise levels are checked before the vehicle is allowed to compete in the dynamic events (Skidpad, Autocross, Acceleration, and Endurance). Therefore, formula sae takes students out of classroom project them in real race car competition.

Summary of Rules

Student Competition

To take part to competition, every member of the team (including the drivers) must be undergraduate, willing to improve their skill sets and experiences, and have to follow several rules, published in competition’s site. These rules are written to encourage the creativity of the team members and their develop as future engineering.


The vehicle can either adopt internal combustion engine or electrical traction system (in UK competition, are also allowed hybrid vehicles). In particular, the internal combustion engine must be piston engine using a four-stroke primary heat cycle, usualy taken from a motorbike, with a displacement not exceeding 710 cc per cycle. An air restrictor of circular cross-section must be fitted downstream of the throttle and upstream of any compressor, no greater than 19mm for ethanol-fuelled engines. The restrictor keeps power levels below 100 hp in the majority of FSAE cars.


The vehicle must be equipped with fully operational front and rear suspension systems including shock absorbers. Most of the teams adopt four-wheel independent suspension with double-wishbone. Active suspension is admitted.


A specifically designed structure mounted on the vehicle to guide the airflow around the vehicle, increasing the downforce acting on the vehicle and/or lowering its drag. No power device (e.g. fan) may be used to move or remove air from under the vehicle. Developing the aerodynamics package means the use of massive wings and undertrays.


The average weight for a competitive Formula SAE car is usually less than 230 kg. However, the lack of weight regulation combined with the somewhat fixed power ceiling encourages teams to adopt innovative weight-saving strategies, such as the use of composite materials, elaborate and expensive machining projects, and rapid prototyping. Several top-running teams have switched from high-powered four-cylinder cars to smaller, one- or two-cylinder engines which, although they usually make much less power, allow weight savings of 30 kg or more, and also provide much better fuel economy. If a lightweight single-cylinder car can keep a reasonable pace in the endurance race, it can often make up the points lost in overall time to the heavier, high-powered cars by an exceptional fuel economy score.


The majority of the regulations pertain to safety, due to the peculiarity of competition. Cars must have two steel roll hoops of designated thickness and alloy, regardless of the composition of the rest of the chassis. There must be an impact attenuator in the nose, and impact testing data on this attenuator must be submitted prior to competing. Cars must also have two hydraulic brake circuits, full five-point racing harnesses, and must meet geometric templates for driver location in the cockpit for all drivers competing. Tilt-tests ensure that no fluids will spill from the car under heavy cornering, and there must be no line-of-sight between the driver and fuel, coolant, or oil lines.


In 1979 the only SAE Mini-Indy was held at the University of Houston. Conceived by Dr. Kurt M. Marshek, the competition was inspired by a how-to article that appeared in Popular Mechanics magazine, for a small, "Indy-style" vehicle made out of wood, and powered by a five horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine. Using the Mini Baja competitions as a guide, engineering students had to design and build small, "Indy-style" vehicles using the same stock engine used in the Popular Mechanics article. Thirteen schools entered and eleven competed, The University of Texas at El Paso won the overall competition.

Although Dr. William Shapton (who had recently left the University of Cincinnati to join Michigan Technological University) broached the idea of hosting a similar competition in 1980, no one stepped up to organize another Mini-Indy.

Three students at the University of Texas at Austin saw the potential and proposed a new mini-Indy with new rules. The new rules kept restriction to a minimum, any four-stroke engine with a 25.4 mm intake restriction. A new name was sought to differentiate the new event from mini-Indy. Students were to design a racing car which couldn't cost over a set amount as evidenced by receipts.

The University of Texas at Austin hosted the competition through 1984. In 1985, the competition was hosted by The University of Texas at Arlington. There, Dr. Robert Woods, with guidance from the SAE student activities committee, changed the concept of the competition from one where students built a pure racing car, to one that mirrored the SAE Mini-Baja competitions, where they were to design and build a vehicle for limited series production.

General Motors hosted the competition in 1991, Ford Motor Co. in 1992, and Chrysler Corp. in 1993. After the 1992 competition, the three formed a consortium to run Formula SAE.

At the end of the 2008 competition, the consortium, based on economic pressure, ceased to exist. The event is now funded by SAE through company sponsorships and donations along with the teams' enrollment fees.

Sapienza Corse - University of Rome "La Sapienza"
Via Eudossiana, 18 - 00184 Rome

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