From an interview with UQR’s Team Principal, Brayden Klimmer.
Students at the University of Queensland (UQ) have access to world class facilities and cutting-edge equipment. A project at UQ called University of Queensland Racing is just one of the ways students can gain industry experience before they graduate. Each year, the UQ Racing team designs, builds, tests, and races a new open-wheeled electric vehicle from scratch as a part of the Formula SAE-A competition. Formula SAE-A runs a yearly event where universities participate in an international competition with over 600 teams worldwide.
UQ Racing is completely student run. The participating students span across a wide variety of different disciplines. On top of all the engineering expertise that goes into designing, building, and testing a car, the team handles all of its own management, recruitment, finances, and sponsor relations. For these reasons, the team engages students from all areas of the university — engineering, business, IT, arts, and even medicine!
UQ’s Formula SAE-A cars are around 80% student manufactured. Students gain experience in sheet metal fabrication, welding, CNC milling, turning, composites layups, soldering, and so much more. With the opening of UQ Innovate in 2019 (Australia’s biggest university makerspace), the team has revolutionized the way it builds cars. Students in the team are mostly undergraduates, with 40% in their first years. UQ Racing believes that building practical experience early is one of the best things students can do.
The cars themselves are pretty impressive. The 2020 EV, Sigrid, goes 0–100 km/h in just under 4 seconds. Brayden states that the car reaches a top speed of 108 km/h. That’s got to pull a few Gs around the corner! “The car is optimized for cornering speeds as the track layouts at our competition have a significant number of corners with very few straight sections.”
UQ Racing strives for diversity in every area. UQ Women in Engineering has been a huge help to reaching out to female engineering and business students. “From Team Principal to Tech Director to Business Directors to Drivers, the women on this team have been knocking down problems just as well as they have been knocking down barriers!” says Team Principal Brayden Klimmer.
Over the past 5 years, the female representation within UQ Racing has doubled from approximately 10% women to 23% in 2021. “Each year we look for better ways to engage and support the women in our team through continuous improvement of our culture, leadership training, and new member projects and support network.”
UQ Racing is also heavily involved in volunteer work to inspire the next generation by participating in regular school visits and workshops. Recently, students from local high schools from year 9–12 (aged 15–18) were invited to the university to participate in the Women in Engineering Expo.
UQR will be exhibiting at the upcoming Noosa Electric Vehicle and street fest on June 19th. Come say hello and meet the team!
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