what we do

The Society of Automotive Engineers at UC San Diego, or Triton Racing, is dedicated to the design, fabrication, and testing of an open-wheel race car for the FSAE competition held this year in Fontana, California. Triton Racing places students in an optimal position to gain hands-on knowledge while applying classroom theory in a real world setting. As a team, we strive to push and test our engineering and design capabilities so that we may extend the boundaries of innovation and establish ourselves in the forefront of FSAE.

Formula SAE is a world-wide engineering design competition held by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The competition provides a unique way to test students’ theoretical knowledge base in a practical, real-world context through manufacturing and fabrication of their designs. Along the way students create and hone their skills in engineering, design, management, and teamwork. Since its inaugural competition in 1979, the competition has grown to over 1000 universities in 10 locations, is the largest undergraduate engineering design competition of any kind in the world.,


The Society of Automotive Engineers developed the Formula SAE series as a way for student’s to put their classroom knowledge into motion. The competition is primarily engineering based but has expanded to include all aspects of racing including the business side. Points are earned in a series of off-track, “Static” events, and on-track, “Dynamic” events. These points are totaled, and the team with the most points at the end of the competition wins. 

Each team is judged based on their engineering skills and ideas as well as production quality through a design review. The design review is hosted by a panel of industry experts specializing in a variety of automotive fields. Each team is also scored based on their vehicle cost report as well as a business marketing presentation.

The vehicle must go through a rigorous technical inspection along with tilt, sound, and brake testing before it is allowed to compete. The drivers must also prove they have all the required safety gear and the ability to egress the car quickly. The dynamic portion of the competition includes acceleration, skid pad, autocross, and endurance events. Each competition is an incredible experience in the preparedness and camaraderie it takes to compete in the automotive world.

For more information about competition, see the official website at http://www.fsaeonline.com/.

Dynamic Events

Endurance (275 points)

Autocross (125 points)

Fuel Economy (100 points)

Acceleration (100 points)

Skid Pad (75 points)

Static Events

Design (150 points)

Cost Report (100 points)

Business Presentation (75 points)

Team history

Established in 1997, Triton Racing started with a small group of dedicated students who started in a garage and put their engineering know-how to use by designing and building a formula-style race car from scratch. Since then, the team has established itself as a formidable contender at the Formula SAE competitions in Michigan and Lincoln (formerly Fontana). Triton Racing has also made its presence in the San Diego community known through extensive media exposure and involvement in the local chapter of the SCCA – Sports Car Club of America. Today, guided by a strong alumni base, a UC San Diego faculty advisor renowned for his work in solid mechanics, and a community advisor with over 30 years of racing experience, Triton Racing continues to produce cutting edge race cars.

TR-19 is a take on previous cars the team has built through out the years. Major differences from TR-18 include a decrease in wheel diameter from 13″ to 10″ wheels, a smaller track width, lack of wings, a built engine, and lower slung chassis. This resulted in a car weighing about 50 lbs less than the two previous years, a reduction in drag, increase in power to 110 hp from 90 hp, and center of gravity at about 11″ from the ground. With the help of our custom DeDion rear suspension to all that power to the ground TR-19 is sure to be a hit. TR-19 placed 13th at FSAE Lincoln, a strong finish despite the conditions we were given. In the end the team sees TR-19 as still our fastest and best car yet.







The Triton Racing team left sunny San Diego right after finals on June 16, hitting the road for a 2 day road trip to Lincoln, Nebraska. The team would participate in the largest collegiate engineering design competition in the world. In the 2017 competition, Triton Racing achieved a feat, 13 years in the making, reaching top ten. The team took home the 8th Place trophy, obtaining the status of the top University of California team, beating out even UC Berkeley, our friendly rival. This achievement fueled the team for the coming year, designing and building another equally formidable car to compete in the 2018 competition. However, it was no easy task. With a large majority of the team’s knowledge leaving as graduating seniors, rising Juniors were tasked with putting what they learned throughout their years on the team to the test. The weight of the team’s previous year’s performance could have added undue stress, but was instead transferred into momentum and took the team to another top ten finish in 2018. Triton Racing took Lincoln, Nebraska by storm and proudly took home the 8th Place trophy once again! UC San Diego is not just the top performing UC in SAE, Triton Racing is now the NUMBER ONE team in the State of California.

TR16 was an evolution over TR-15 with improvements in handling and ergonomics, and an improved de Dion truss structure. Sadly, the 2016 team was met with disappointment when the car’s differential mount broke just before competition. In 2017, alongside efforts to restructure the team and facilitate knowledge transfer, the team fixed, tested and improved upon TR16 and renamed it TR16S. Once it finally made it to Nebraska, TR16S finished 8th with an overall score of 710.2 out of 1000 points! Highlights included placing 7th in Autocross, 8th in Fuel Efficiency, and 9th in Endurance. This is the most successful result Triton Racing has achieved thus far.


TR-15 was a revolutionary car featuring a de Dion type rear suspension and UCSD’s first aerodynamics package. Finishing 24th overall at the Lincoln FSAE Competition, and with a second place finish in efficiency, the Triton Racing Team of 2015 scored 481.5 points in total.

Documentary (TR15)

The 2014 team was the first to score in all events at competition due to the robust design and stock ECU on the 4 cylinder engine. Disaster struck the team after the first autocross run as a defective purchased part caused a total front suspension failure. By the next morning, the car was repaired and ready to take on the competition at the 22km endurance race. UC San Diego’s first car to take a score home for every event left with 346.6 points and 43rd out of about 80 teams that showed up.


The 2011 team utilized the components of the 2009 single cylinder car, with a new chassis and the supercharger finally installed and ready to work. TR-11 weighed in at 430 pounds and finished 41st at FSAE West at Fontana in 2011 with 225 pts.


TR-9E, formerly TR-7W, was UC San Diego’s first all-electric race car TR-9E was one of only 20 electric cars to pass tech inspection and finished 9th overall in the Formula Hybrid competition held in New Hampshire.


TR-9 car represented a radical change in direction in terms of design. The car featured a single cylinder Yamaha WR450 engine, bored and stroked to 565 cc, composite suspension components, and 10” wheels. A supercharger was planned and designed for but taken out as a compromise for reliability. The car weighed in at finished 39th at FSAE West with 110 pts.


After the in-development vehicle was determined to be unfit for competition, the women’s team, which had been completely modifying the old 2004 chassis, was substituted for them. The crank angle sensor failed just before the autocross event, and no spare was available, so the car was required to retire from the competition. TR-7W used brake calipers integrated within the magnesium uprights to allow for sleeker packaging of the wheels.


Key changes to the 2006 car include: solenoid shifting, custom magnesium wheel centers, and a WRD differential. The team also used Altair HyperWorks Optistruct and other optimization programs to aid in their designs. The car ended up at 490 lbs and 85 horsepower and placed 2nd in the acceleration event (0-75m in 4.127 seconds) and 29th overall at the Fontana competition in 2006 with 330 points.


In 2005, the team improved on previous designs with the addition of a supercharger and a reversed cylinder head to package it in a more innovative way. TR-5 placed 59th at the FSAE competition in Detroit with 351 points.


The 2003 car was the first car since the hiatus after 2001 and used parts from conventional road vehicles to save development time. It placed 73rd at Detroit 2004 with 285 pts.


Between 1999 and 2001, SAE was primarily made up of students working on the car as part of the school’s mechanical engineering senior design class. The car never went to competition and weighed ~600 lbs w/ 50 hp.


Our first car. Triton Racing started with a Yamaha FZR 600 motorcycle engine and scored ~175 points in 1997 and  ~125 points in 1998.