WWU Formula SAE Competition Car
Students at the Vehicle Research Institute of Western Washington University built this car for competition in the Formula SAE against other engineering schools. The Formula SAE competition brings together all of the country's top engineering schools in two venues each year, Fontana, CA and Detroit, MI. There are also Formula SAE competitions in Japan, Australia, Italy, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
The car, known internally as Viking 38, has a twin carbon tube backbone with CNC'd aluminum bulkheads and a Nomex composite front crush structure and tub. The corners consist of CNC aluminum uprights, Wilwood brakes, and Goodyear tires, all held up by carbon fiber A-arms. The heart of the car is a Honda CBR 600cc motorcycle engine. Power is delivered to the wheels through the stock 6-speed gearbox. An Audi Torsen differential with a custom CNC housing and motorcycle sprockets completes the drive train.
The 600cc Honda breathes through a 20mm restrictor placed after the throttle body, as per the rules. The engine has two California exhaust cams, in order to reduce lift and duration and extract as much torque from the restricted motor as possible. All of this air moves through a carbon fiber intake manifold with a CNC'd base plate that includes tuned intake trumpets.
For this engine we set up a v3 MegaSquirt and Spark system. The MegaSquirt fires two Dyna coil packs, for a wasted spark configuration using a modified Honda CBR 12 tooth crank trigger wheel and VR sensor. The redline is at the end of the useable power band at 125000 RPM. Fuel comes in through an Accel fuel pump, Bosch injectors and a 2.5bar fuel pressure regulator. This car has completely custom chassis and engine electrical harnesses. The center of the chassis electrical harness is a small carbon fiber dashboard, including MegaSquirt powered shift lights, a tachometer, and neutral light.
SpitFire EFI tuned this car with a focus primarily on full throttle power and smooth transient control to help propel the car easily through the corners. Cold starts and cranking tuning were given considerable attention in order to ensure the car would start as soon as it was unloaded from the trailer to begin its warm-up sequence. Given the nature of restricted low displacement motorcycles engines, cold starts can be troublesome due to the placement of the throttle body a considerable distance from the cylinder. Viking 38, however, starts with relative ease at reasonably cold temperatures.
This car went to the Formula SAE competition in 2006 where it passed all three phases of tech inspection, but suffered an electrical surge, which put it out of contention for the rest of the events. However, a comeback is planned for the 2007 competition in Detroit.