Gopher Motorsports
About
We are the University of Minnesota Student Chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).
Each year, we design and build a vehicle to compete in the global Formula SAE Series.
The competition goal is to design, manufacture, market, and race an open-wheel, open-cockpit, and single-seat vehicle marketable to the weekend autocrosser.
Design. Manufacture. Market. Race.
Updates
7th Place at Formula SAE Michigan Competition!
After a year of hard work, Gopher Motorsports placed 7th out of 125 teams at the Formula SAE competition held at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, MI.

Thursday, August 31st from 12:00pm - 4:00pm - Find our group at the University of Minnesota's Welcome Week CSE Student Organization Fair. This event will be held in the Lind Hall courtyard. We encourage anyone who wants to learn more about what Gopher Motorsports is, or if they would want to join, to come find us at the Fair!

Friday, September 1st from 11:30am - 1:00pm - We will be attending the Transfer Welcome Day CSE Student Organization Fair. If you are transferring into the College of Science and Engineering and are interested in our group, we hope to see you there!

Subteams
The Subteams and their Leaders
The Gopher Motorsports Leaders.
President
Jack Goodsell
Chief Engineer
Nick Morse
Project Manager
James Jagodinski
We are the leaders of this year's Gopher Motorsports Student Organization, and are responsible for planning, organization, and general Gopher Motorsports productivity. Individual leader descriptions, if one exists, can be viewed by clicking on their respective names.
As President, I am responsible for guiding team philosophy and setting team goals. For several years, Gopher Motorsports has been trending upwards due to a culture of excellence and the engineering practice to back it up. With our large, talented class of seniors graduating this spring, we are seeking to improve in a number of areas, from knowledge transfer to new member retention and driver development. We are confident in our ability to perform well, and our goal is to place in the top three of the 120 teams that attend FSAE Michigan. Coming off a 7th place finish last year, we are hungry for another chance to improve, and we are taking great efforts to ensure that the following teams will have the talent, the knowledge, and the resources to continue with our recent success.
As Vice President of Gopher Motorsports, I am responsible for the ‘behind the scenes’ management. My job is to empower our engineers by making the most of our resources. This includes collaborating outside of the team with other student groups, and working with our local sponsors to exceed our capabilities at home. This year, Gopher Motorsports will have its very first business subteam. We hope to streamline our acquisition processes, while improving our cost and presentation scores through rigorous documentation and an improved budget forecasting system. Combined, these efforts will allow our engineers to realize the highest gains by optimizing our fiscal strategy.
The role of Project Manager is to set a timetable and to meet the deadlines set forth by the officer corps. This year, our External Design Review has been set one month earlier than last year, and our goal is to complete manufacturing by mid­March to allow us ample testing time. One of the keys to the success of Gopher Motorsports is reliability. Of the 120 teams present at FSAE Michigan in 2015, only 39 finished the endurance event. Our ability to not only properly design, but also rigorously test our car allows us to stay in the upper echelon of College Design Series entrants.
As Chief Engineer, I am responsible for guiding the engineering choices to align with our team's goals. In our quest to place in the top ten at FSAE Michigan, we have identified a number of key areas to improve upon to take us to the next level. This includes reducing mass, improving engine efficiency and mapping, and having an aero package to improve our lateral acceleration. One development we are taking on is having carbon fiber wheels to reduce unsprung, rotational mass. The improvement to the wheels should be a design that will net us points both against the clock and in the design tent, and we hope that these improvements will help the team for years to come.
The Frame & Suspension Team.
Team-Lead
Andy Schultze
The Frame & Suspension subteam is responsible for delivering a robust, lightweight platform for the car, and for optimizing our suspension system for an autocross track layout. New for this year, we are utilizing the Alternate Frame Tube rule exemption, which allows us to use a wider tube with a thinner wall. With this rule, we will both increase chassis rigidity and reduce mass. Validation is crucial to the success of my subteam. Testing projects we are undertaking include taking dynamic wheel force measurements as well as validating the joint strength of the alternate tubes. The data gathered from these tests will help drive engineering choices for years to come.
The Engine & Drivetrain Team.
Team-Lead
Nathan Westlund
This sub­team produces the engine to run the car and transfers the horsepower to the tires. We are also responsible for cooling, oiling, fueling, providing air to the engine, and making sure it’s quiet coming out of the exhaust. One of our biggest challenges this year is to create a muffler and exhaust system that passes competition sound requirements while still generating the same amount of power. Our other large re­designs this year include the re­sizing the cooling system and resolving fuel tank slosh. This sub­team is one of the most appealing in terms of complexity and aesthetics, but it also takes an enormous amount of effort and knowledge. The work is plenty, and the rewards are great.
The Electronics Team.
Team-Lead
Rose Slater
The electrical sub­team deals with the sensors and data collection on the car. In order to collect the data from sensors, a DAQ (data acquisition harness) is built to take signals from the sensors into a data collection device, from which useful data is obtained. This sub­team does a lot of hands on wiring, soldering, and troubleshooting. Some of the goals for the year include mapping out the entire DAQ harness in Solidworks electrical, switching to circuit board wiring, and collecting data wirelessly. In addition, systems integration is important, since the data collected by the sensors is used by other sub-teams, so the electrical team strives to work cooperatively with all other sub­teams.
The Aerodynamics Team.
Team-Lead
Lucas Vanyo
The Aerodynamics subteam gives our team an edge in the corners. We are responsible for producing downforce to aid our cornering ability while minimizing drag to maintain our top speed. New for this season is an aerodynamics package consisting of a front and rear wing, a diffuser and a revised upper nosecone. Our material of choice is carbon fiber reinforced polymer, because it allows us to have the stiffest, lightest parts possible. To aid the validation of composite components throughout the Aerodynamics subteam and throughout the whole car, we are compiling a database of strength properties based on in­house manufacturing techniques and comparing those properties to literature values. Together, we look to improve agility, reduce mass, and validate our design choices through good engineering practice.
The Ergonomics Team.
Team-Lead
Quang Truong
The ergonomics subteam is responsible for making the driver comfortable in the car. Items that fall under the umbrella of “driver comfort” include the seat, the safety harness, the pedals, the steering assembly and the brakes. All of the components that the driver directly interacts with are particularly scrutinized for safety, so we must rigorously analyze every component that goes into the cockpit to ensure a safe, comfortable operating environment for the driver. After all, a comfortable driver can produce better results than an uncomfortable driver. A balance must be found between weight savings, driver comfort and safety, and as subteam leader, I have to consider all of those components to optimize my subsystem.
Sponsors
Looking to sponsor and invest in the training of future enthusiastic technical professionals?
Think of sponsorship as being a job advertisement and a human resources investment for the future - all at the same time.
Students involved in Gopher Motorsports take academic knowledge and apply it to real-life situations, the same as they would in an internship or job.
Almost all students involved graduate with a job before or after graduations, and many of these positions are with our sponsors.
If you want to know more, here's a document with all the information. You can also get in touch with us at this email.
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