Cooper Union Motorsports

AdvisorsVIP Course Section NumberWebsite | Goals

Issues Involved or Addressed | Subteams | Methods & Technologies 

Majors Looking for on this Team | Preferred Interests, Preparation, Skills 

Team Contact Information

Advisors (and respective Department)

Sven Haverkamp (ME)

VIP Course Section Number




The goal of the VIP is to successfully participate in the Formula SAE® competitions that challenge teams of university students to conceive, design, fabricate, develop, and compete with small, formula style vehicles.

Formula SAE® is an engineering education competition that requires performance demonstration of vehicles in a series of events, both off track and on track against the clock. Each competition gives teams the chance to demonstrate their creativity and engineering skills in comparison to teams from other universities around the world.

Teams are to assume that they work for an engineering firm that is designing, fabricating, testing, and demonstrating a prototype vehicle. The vehicle should have high performance and be sufficiently durable to successfully complete all the events at the Formula SAE competitions. Additional design factors include aesthetics, cost, ergonomics, maintainability, and manufacturability. Each design will be judged and evaluated against other competing designs in a series of Static and Dynamic events to determine the vehicle that best meets the design goals and may be profitably built and marketed.

 On a more detailed level, desired outcome of the project is that students will be able to

• design a racecar that meets specified needs under cost constraints,

• design for manufacturing and subsequently manufacture and assemble a racecar,

• function effectively on a team, including project management, leadership, and collaboration, and

• develop and conduct appropriate experimentation, both on component level and for the whole vehicle.

Issues Involved or Addressed

The project must abide by the rules of the competition, which require a business plan and a detailed breakdown of the cost of the car using standardized cost tables, assuming series production. In addition, the team has to consider the actual cost of the car, which may deviate significantly. The issues addressed in the project are essentially:

• Product planning (including a business plan – an actual one and one for competition)

• Customer needs and target specifications (incl. cost acc. to competition rules and actual cost for the team)

• Vehicle concept developing and packaging

• Styling, surface generation

• Purchasing

• Manufacturing and assembly planning, process development

• Manufacturing and assembly

• (Virtual) Prototyping and validation

• Homologation

• Financial controlling

• Marketing, sponsorship


There will be subteams following the product structure: The higher-level systems body, chassis, powertrain, E/E, and vehicle integration each will be organized in a separate team. Additional subteams will focus on business and support topics (e.g. IT, outreach).

Methods & Technologies

Scrum, PDM/PLM, CAD, Vehicle dynamics, FEA (static and dynamic), Acoustics, CFD (1D and 3D), NVH, Track testing, CAM, Data collection and analysis, Machine shop, Composite manufacturing.

Majors Looking for on this Team

All, with an emphasis on ME and EE.

Preferred Interests, Preparation, Skills

1. Background/interest in automotive.

2. Experience with or willingness to learn design and simulation software, and automotive engineering topics depending on subteam (e.g. driving dynamics, aerodynamics, occupancy packaging, acoustics, FEA, E/E).

3. Experience with or willingness to learn manufacturing technologies (welding, milling, carbon and glass fiber).

4. Experience with or willingness to learn project management.

Team Contact information

  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.