Formula Racecar to be Unveiled at Upcoming Imagine RIT Festival

Top national and international collegiate team will feature new design and engine improvements for 2010 season

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Elizabeth Lamark

Taylor Hattori, Bryan Reinheimer, Kursten O’Neill and Matt Smith gave a brief look at the 2010 Formula car in process last month. Since then, the Formula team has completed its work, and done on-site testing in preparation for the upcoming season. The RIT Formula SAE Racing Team will unveil its 2010 car at the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival.

With top placements in individual events and overall wins during the 2009 season, the Formula SAE Racing team at Rochester Institute of Technology has become one of the leading teams on the international circuit of the Society of Automotive Engineers Formula Design Series. The team will unveil its new car at 11 a.m. on May 1 in the Simone Circle during the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival.

Guests will have a chance to meet members of the Formula team and learn more about new designs the team has incorporated into its racecar. Following the demonstration, the team will host an open house in the mechanical engineering shop located in the James E. Gleason Building, room 2360, throughout the remainder of the festival.

The international SAE Formula organization maintains a world ranking of the top collegiate teams from around the world. After the 2009 season, the RIT SAE Formula team ranks 18th among 450 international college teams.

In an effort to improve on 2009, the current team has done a significant redesign of the chassis and made improvements to the engine.

“This year’s chassis is a steel space-frame design, lighter in weight but designed for better torsional rigidity,” says Bryan Reinheimer, a member of the Formula design team. “The suspension is designed specifically for the demands of autocross, including quick maneuvering, acceleration, and deceleration.”

Improvements to the engine start with the intake and exhaust, Kursten O’Neill, a member of the Formula composites team, explains. “We have designed and manufactured a two-position variable intake that has allowed for an overall increase in power of the engine and an exhaust system that is lighter and more cost effective.”

The team works with many departments on campus. The entire brake system, including calipers, pistons, and rotors are designed and built at RIT. Each year, the team strives to make the maximum number of parts in-house using the resources in the mechanical engineering machine shop and Brinkman Lab.

Teams are expected to make a formal presentation about design, costs and performance as part of each competition. Recently, the RIT team worked with one of its sponsors, Moog Inc., to do a mock presentation about the design of the new car.

“This is one of many ways that our sponsors aid our team in producing a world-class car,” says Matt Smith, RIT Formula project manager. “From materials to machining to technical knowledge, working with our vast network of sponsors is beneficial to all parties and provides great opportunities.”

Following the Imagine RIT Festival, the team will finalize preparations for its first competition slated for May 12-15 at Michigan International Speedway. The group travels June 16-19 to the Auto Club Speedway in California to defend its 2009 championship title. Closing the season Aug. 4-8, the group will compete at the SAE Formula Student Germany event at Hockenheimring. All competitions include college and university teams from Brazil, Canada, China, India, Mexico, South Korea and the United States.