Focal Point Summer 2015

No burnouts here

Students build autocross car, participate in international competition

photo by Elizabeth Lienau
by Leah Twilley  
video by Jeremy Knickerbocker

On Thursday nights in the halls of Keller Engineering Labs, the sounds of deep engine hums and tinkering tools can be heard.

The sounds are from a group of students who spent the fall and winter semesters designing, building and testing an autocross car for Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers), one of the world’s largest collegiate racing competitions that took place in May at Michigan International Speedway. More than 130 teams participated.

Autocross car for Formula SAE

The 25-member group built a car with a Honda 600 CBR RR engine — a motorcycle engine — that can reach speeds as high as 80 miles per hour.

For a first-year team, they did well at the competition. They passed the first hurdle, the tech inspection and participated in an autocross event on the track that tested the vehicle’s cornering ability and acceleration. The team is already planning for next year and the students plan on everything being bigger and better.

“We hope to incorporate a design that will allow one of our members who is partially paralyzed to be able to drive the vehicle,” said Greg Quante, a junior who serves as operations manager. “This past season was a huge motivational boost for the entire team and we are eager and ready to design and build our vehicle for the upcoming season.”

So, who said racing is only for adrenaline junkies? These Lakers took away more than just oil and grease from this experience. They saw life in the academic fast lane by learning how to build something from scratch.

Go kart on road

Page last modified February 1, 2017