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Simulation helps FSAE Motorsport Team Cut 26 Percent of a Car’s Weight

Structural simulation of PNW Motorsports’ wheel hub

Formula SAE (FSAE) is a motorsport competition where engineering students are tasked to design and manufacture race cars.

Purdue University Northwest (PNW) Motorsports, an FSAE team, knew that simulation could help optimize its car’s design.

“PNW Motorsports incorporated ANSYS Workbench for the first time last year,” says team member Joseph R. Wcisel. “Our design leaders made it a goal to reduce the weight of the car to improve and optimize the vehicle’s performance.”

Reducing the Weight of a Motorsport Car’s Design with Simulation

Every major component of PNW Motorsports’ car was evaluated by a static structural analysis simulation in ANSYS Mechanical.

“ANSYS provided designers with an intuitive interface to apply boundary conditions to the components,” says Wcisel. “Areas of high stress could be easily modified and changed to ensure the part maintained the desired factor of safety.”

ANSYS software helped PNW Motorsports reduce the overall weight of its vehicle by 26 percent. The weight of the suspension system, alone, was reduced by 50 percent.

Structural simulation of PNW Motorsports’ bell crank

“Optimization of the vehicle would not have been possible without the support that ANSYS provided,” says Wcisel. “By running these simulations, the team could create and modify designs that maintained strength and minimized weight.”

Moving forward, PNW Motorsports hopes to use ANSYS simulation to assess the torsional stiffness of the chassis.

Learn firsthand how simulation can help optimize an FSAE car design; apply for an ANSYS student team sponsorship. Or, access the ANSYS Student Community to explore best practices for designing an FSAE car.