This study focuses on the use of lightweight design and optimization methodology as a computer aided approach to enhancing the conceptual design of an impact attenuator for a Formula SAE race car. The most important question answered here is how to improve conceptual design outlines to assist a designer with respect to an impact attenuator design. In this study, different tools for lightweight design and optimization are compared to find the most suitable procedures and optimization techniques for an impact attenuator design. The geometrical features used as design variables and constraints are defined according to Formula SAE rules. The optimization problem is solved using a genetic algorithm and sequential quadratic programming methods by means of meta-modeling techniques. It is found that lightweight design and optimization can be used to enhance the conceptual design outlines of an impact attenuator through EPP foam, kriging meta-modeling and genetic algorithm optimization techniques.