Anteater Racing Goes Virtual For This Year’s SAE CDS Competitions

In March, with 3 months to go before Formula SAE California and 1 month before Baja SAE Arizona, the organizers of the SAE Collegiate Design Series competitions called off the in-person “dynamic” events due to the dangers presented by COVID-19.

However, the presentation-based “static” events are set to take place beginning this week via video conferencing, and Anteater Racing’s engineers are preparing to give these modified competitions their best while also focusing on redesigning their vehicles.

“We have been practicing since the beginning of this quarter for the design presentation and since last quarter for the sales presentation,” says Anteater Baja Racing Chief Engineer Joseph Castro. 

The design presentation involves the teams’ lead engineers, who each present their areas of focus throughout the year to volunteer judges from the engineering industry. Normally, each team’s 2020 vehicle would join them in this event as part of the presentation.

“Anteater Electric Racing, like the other two teams, has split into two groups, a competition team and a design team,” adds AER Project Manager Janet Sepulveda. “We’re preparing for the Business and Sales Presentations by giving weekly presentations to our advisors and fellow team members. Their feedback helps us improve our presentations towards what the judges are looking for.”

“The Business and Sales presentations involve responses to business-related scenarios, which encourage engineers to think critically about the management aspects of the engineering industry,” Anteater Formula Racing Team Manager Noah Stein explains. “For FSAE‘s Presentation this year, we have to present an action plan that responds to a corporate-level decision to cut 90% of our Research and Development budget. And for the Cost event, we are proposing a cost reduction of our fuel system.”

“Baja’s Sales Presentation this year requires us to create a manufacturing company seeking investors for a production rate of 4,000 vehicles a year,” Castro adds.

Meanwhile, all 3 teams have continued their development in anticipation of the full competitions’ return in 2021. Electric and Baja are developing entirely new cars, while Formula is developing upgrades as part of a two-year cycle.

Baja’s major changes for the recently-announced Vandal Mk II come in response to new regulations allowing 4-wheel drive.

Castro: “Our biggest redesign comes from the new 4×4 feature, which has posed interesting new design changes in system integration and vehicle packaging. This has added new components and thus more weight. However, every subsystem (brakes, chassis, powertrain and suspension & steering) has been updated to accommodate the added powertrain system while also improving our reliability and maneuverability.”

Electric’s Ampeater Mk II will make the team much more competitive with performance upgrades:

Sepulveda: “We are focusing heavily on a full Aerodynamic package, the first ever for the Electric team, on integrating a data acquisition system that records speed, acceleration, temperature and GPS data, and modifying our steering to use full Ackermann steering.

Formula’s Jinx will also see significant improvements on its original design:

Stein: “While we’re unable to manufacture due to the shutdown, everyone is fully-focused on 10 new component designs that we can manufacture as soon as possible, such as a new intake plenum, exhaust rerouting, converting to a semi-monocoque chassis, paddle shifting, and electronic throttle control.”

Both the Virtual competitions and the push towards new designs mean that Spring Quarter, even in these circumstances, is still an opportunity for innovation for Anteater Racing.