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Problem statement: Formula SAE has been at VCU for the last three years and the team is now getting to the point of having the formula car ready to run and drive. One of the things that needs to be finished for this to happen is the installation of a shifting system.

Rationale: Once completed, the FSAE team will be one step closer to having a competition ready formula car. While a major part of the team is the members’ love of all things fast, we also believe that the car will provide exposure to the VCU School of Engineering through competitions and promotional events.

Approach: This design will provide a reliable, safe, and user-friendly system that provides quick responding shifts for the FSAE formula car. A micro-controller is to be programmed to take shift commands from the driver (sent via paddles located on the steering column), and process them into signals. These signals will then be sent to a pneumatic system that will perform the clutch and shift operations. In addition, the micro-controller will provide feedback of its operation to the driver using instrument cluster LED indicators.

Anticipated Results and Conclusions: Currently, the team plans on having the system designed and installed well in advance of April 2015. The system will provide 2 driving modes: one for the drag portion of competition and one for the street course portion. Complete shifting times are predicted be to within 1 millisecond of driver input.

Publication Date



mechanical and nuclear engineering, formula car


Engineering | Mechanical Engineering | Nuclear Engineering

Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Charles Cartin

VCU Capstone Design Expo Posters


© The Author(s)

Date of Submission

August 2015

Formula-SAE: Shift System and Controls