On Sept. 20, engines rumbled, systems were on standby, and 500 serious students waited on the sidelines of the track, in anticipation of what was to come. Sixteen teams were focused on proving the same thing at the 7th Annual U of T Shootout: that their university created the fastest autocross racecar.
As the early morning fog slowly lifted, competitors and spectators only caught a glimpse of the Kart Track at Mosport International Raceway before the first green flag was flashed. The tension broke with the roar of the University of Toronto Formula SAE’s 2008 racecar as it began its inaugural lap at the Shootout.
Since its inception in 2001, the University of Toronto’s Shootout, a North American competition that is organized and managed by U of T students, has grown to be the largest student-run Formula SAE competition in the world. Shootout acts as a demonstration of the coordination and abilities of the University of Toronto team.
Many U of T students and staff have seen the Formula SAE racecar on campus, but few have seen it in action, or heard about the team’s activities throughout the year. This is likely because the team travels abroad to compete with more than 300 international universities at officially sanctioned events, and when the team is not competing, it’s busy with design and fabrication.
Sanctioned Formula SAE events involve several on-track tests and races, along with reports, competitive presentations, and reviews. Shootout is a different kind of competition—it is entirely comprised of track racing and gives teams a chance to really enjoy the excitement of a race. It’s seen as a sort of year-end closure for drivers and teams and Shootout gives U of T undergraduates, alumni, and staff a chance to see a multi-university FSAE competition in their own backyard.
While unsanctioned, Shootout is as competitive as it gets with over $2,000 in cash prizes and a grand prize of a free set of Goodyear FSAE Tires (approximate value of $800). Prizes are awarded both for team standings and individual driver ranking.
Adrenaline ran high for the drivers as they lined up their cars, each hoping to champion the fastest lap time. The U of T team’s first of two cars set solid times to beat. The track, with its tight corners and elevation variations, provided the 16 teams with a worthy challenge as each car ran one-by-one to set a score based on lap time.
Early in the competition, the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) was the first team to complete a lap in under one minute; after that, the top standings were continuously exchanged between the University of Toronto, Saginaw Valley State University, École de Technologie Supérieure (ÉTS) and RIT. Throughout the afternoon, drivers become increasingly comfortable with the track and cut thier lap times down to 55.596 seconds.
RIT earned the First Place Team Award for their cumulative skilful driving on the track and accepted the grand prize and a cash prize from the SAE Central Ontario Chapter. Université Laval and ÉTS received second and third place prizes respectively. As the event organizers, the U of T Team discounts their standings from team awards, but received many individual driver awards.
The U of T Formula SAE team had many valuable volunteers at Shootout, including 50 undergraduate students who helped marshal the track. To ensure all cars met FSAE safety standards, the morning technical inspection was conducted by Laurence Polly from Engineered Solutions and Phil Kling from GM. Also in attendance at the Shootout were representatives from several industry leaders, including Chrysler, Bombardier, and Imperial Oil.
The Shootout would not have been possible without the sponsorship of Lincoln Electric, SAE International, Mosport International Raceway, and Goodyear. The University of Toronto Formula SAE team thanks all the universities and spectators that made the event possible and wishes them all the best of luck in the 2009 season.