Bobcat Motorsports

The Montana State University Student Chapter of SAE International


Robb Larson, Advisor

The MSU SAE club - also known as "Bobcat Motorsports" - is a registered student organization with MSU Student Activities. Club membership varies by year, but often sits at around 30 active, dues-paying members. Students in the club participate in local service activities, club racing and various fundraising events. We’ve participated in the SAE Formula series for many years, and we are now  competing in the BAJA SAE competition. Our first BSAE entry raced in Pittsburg Kansas in June 2014. Each year the club acts as the "Industrial Sponsor" for an ME/MET Capstone design team, whose members are tasked with the design/analysis/fabrication of a race car to compete in the international competitions. Ample opportunities exist for club members of all levels to work on and to drive the club's race cars. SAE International is a great organization that supports engineering endeavors in education and industry throughout the world. SAE student chapters provide opportunities for design, fabrication, testing, competition, teamwork, travel, learning - and  fun. MSU's SAE chapter is open to all students who wish to take part.

We'd be happy to have you on-board as a sponsor - or in the driver's seat as a student member.

Robb Larson, P.E.
Associate Professor
Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
MSU SAE Club Advisor



Bobcat Motorsports car number 48 was the culmination of an extended 2-year design/build project. Mechanical Engineering and Mechanical Engineering Technology students in the joint  ME/MET Capstone course, along with BMS Club members, put together and raced a bomber first-time effort car at the Pittsburg, Kansas event. Some component failures dropped the team's overall finish to 66th place out of 91 teams, but had the gearbox survived it was looking good for a top ten finish! The 2016 competition car is already under construction. Stay tuned, this oughta be good!

2014 SAE2014 SAE

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Formula SAE Competition


Eight travel team members with faculty advisor Robb Larson spent June 19-22 in Lincoln Nebraska for the 2013 Formula SAE event. Eighty teams registered for this competition, representing the top engineering colleges from seven countries. University of Washington took home the honors this year, MSU had a good team and the car was a strong competitor; points were scored points in all events both static and dynamic and car number 56 was one of only 27 cars to finish the endurance competition. The 30th place overall score could have been improved with just a little luck - but it was a great showing for the MSU squad.

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Ten members of the MSU "Bobcat Motorsports" team along with faculty advisor Robb Larson converged in Fontana California on June 15th for the SAE Formula West competition. Eighty registered teams from nine countries provided stiff competition for the Montana State travel squad.  Ecole De Technologie Superieure From Montreal, Quebec, Canada, took the top prize this year. Other top teams included the University of Oklahoma, University of Wisconsin - Madison, University of Maryland - College Park, and the University of Bath from the UK. MSU's fifth Formula SAE car entry proved to be a powerful and nimble competitor, but unfortunately the vehicle suffered axle problems in the autocross event and some fuel system management issues during the endurance race - and ended the week in 46th position.

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MSU's largest Formula SAE travel squad to-date made the long trip to the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., for the 2010 Formula SAE California competition June 16-19. Sixteen students plus faculty advisor Larson convened to face 79 registered university teams representing nine countries. Pre-race testing of the nimble, fast car built up team hopes for a strong showing at the race, as handling and acceleration of the car was the best of any MSU entry to-date. But once at the race, various minor problems conspired against the team - resulting in missed events while fixes were pursued. Finally, a sheared front axle during the Endurance competition ended the week for the team. Despite component failures the team finished in 46th overall place, and came away with a new appreciation for the engineering and design challenges involved - and with their pride, dignity, and fun-loving spirit fully intact after a wild week in Southern California. We look forward to a quick repair of the car to support club activities throughout the coming year.

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Solid progress was made during the academic year towards producing a viable 2009 race entry, and the car was estimated at 80% complete at the end of Spring term 2009. But loss of key personnel made for slow progress after the end of the term. An incomplete car combined with fundraising issues resulted in the hard decision to withdraw from participation in the 2009 FSAE race. Many parts that were fabricated for this car will be utilized in the 2010 entry.


Over two dozen students in the joint ME/MET capstone project course, along with many active MSU SAE club members contributed to create MSU's third consecutive Formula SAE entry. Nine students along with Faculty Advisor Larson traveled to the 2008 SAE Formula West race in Fontana in late June 2008 to face the competition. The team's results were generally good until a failure in the innovative carbon-composite suspension system ended the Bobcat Motorsports car run during the Autocross event. Overall the team finished in 44th place of 82 registered teams, including a solid 17th place in the Design portion of the competition. The car looked better than ever and received praise from judges and competitors alike. Having just completed our fourth year as an MSU club, we've established a record of achievement that highlights MSU's engineering programs like no other.

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The highlight of the 2006/2007 year came as ten ME and MET students and Faculty Advisor Larson made the trip to the California Speedway NASCAR track in Fontana, Calif., for the June 2007 Formula SAE race. The MSU Bobcat Motor Sports team took 24th place overall in their 600 cc powered car, and the Montana State squad was one of only 17 teams out of 80 registered teams from over a dozen different countries that successfully completed every event. Individual event highlights included a 5th place finish in fuel economy (due in great part to tuning help from Dynojet, our sponsor!) and an 8th place finish in the Presentation event. These were great accomplishments for our second year of competition, especially when going against powerhouse teams such as Auburn, Texas A&M and others -  It is clear that MSU student engineers can compete with the world's best both in the classroom and on the track. We're hard at work on next year's car, hoping to continue achieving results beyond all expectations! 

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The 2005/2006 MSU Formula SAE vehicle, Car #20,  is the first product of a rookie  Bobcat Motor Sports team. Ten students and Faculty Advisor Larson made the journey to Fontana, Calif., in late June 2006 to compete in the first annual FSAE West Competition. The addition of the new California race venue provided an alternative to the long-held Detroit competition and despite record heat the venue provided a good experience for our first-year group. The Bobcat race squad overcame multiple obstacles in the competition, but was unable to finish the valuable Endurance portion of the race, resulting in an overall 46th  place finish out of 72 university teams.

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