RIT Formula Team Takes First in Individual and Overall Events in California

Race car team wins first competition on American soil in 17 years of competing

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Charles Neumann

Members of the 2009 RIT Formula racing team with this year’s racer at the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on May 2.

After several years of top five placements in international competitions, the Rochester Institute of Technology Formula SAE racecar team took first place overall among 81 teams in the 2009 Collegiate Design Series California event on June 20. This was the first time the RIT team placed first overall on American soil and swept the individual categories in the weekend competition.

“This is our 17th year doing this,” says Alan Nye, faculty advisor to the RIT Formula team. “We’ve gone to multiple events most years and have won the events in Australia and England, but until this year we had not won in the United States. We’ve placed second five times in the U.S. This event was very close—until the very end, it was reasonably possible that we would come in second again.”

The Formula SAE events are annual student design competitions where college students design and build a small Formula-style race car. Each student team designs, builds and tests a prototype, and then enters the racecar in national and international events against other college teams.

The RIT Formula team has consistently placed in the top 10 of its competitions throughout its 17 years. The team enters three competitions yearly with two in the United States and one overseas.

The 2009 racecar placed first in several performance events for endurance, acceleration and skid pad. The group is also required to make a formal presentation about the overall design and development process as part of the competition. Teams competing at the California event included the University of Oregon, Clemson University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, as well as universities from Sweden, Mexico, Korea and Venezuela.

In May, the RIT Formula team placed second overall at Michigan International Speedway in Detroit. The California competition is the group’s second of the season. RIT will compete again Aug. 5-9 at the HockenhelmRing in Baden-Wurttenberg, Germany.