RIT Formula Racing team hosts Lotus engineer for talk on enabling vehicle technologies

Talk focuses on lightweight designs, efficiencies and aerodynamics for high performance cars

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Formula Student Germany, Buck

RIT’s Formula Racing team is hosting Gregg Peterson, senior technology specialist for Lotus Engineering Inc., for a special campus presentation at 7 p.m. April 17.

Automakers are facing substantial challenges today as a result of current and pending carbon dioxide and fuel economy regulations. Gregg Peterson, senior technology specialist for Lotus Engineering Inc., will discuss these challenges and Lotus’ solutions at a special campus presentation at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 17, at RIT’s B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences. He will discuss the iconic race and sports car company’s focus on lightweight vehicle design and improved aerodynamics.

The event, which is free and open to students, faculty and staff, is sponsored by RIT’s Formula Racing team.

Peterson’s presentation will provide background information on the specific regulatory requirements and the technologies that engineers have available to meet new standards. The presentation will also assess specific contributions of enabling technologies, including aerodynamics, mass reduction and tire/wheel/chassis systems. Several examples, based on Lotus public domain projects, will be cited to demonstrate the potential for contributing to improved fuel economy. The review will cover the ground up design of a new lightweight vehicle that weighs almost 40 percent less than the identical size steel baseline vehicle.

“The RIT Formula race team has focused the last few years on building a fast, competitive race car, focusing on lightweight design, aerodynamics and fuel efficiencies,” said Travis Newberry, RIT Formula Racing project manager. “Who better to learn more about those features from than Lotus? These are also top automotive engineering trends and relevant to what we are learning in classes.”

Peterson is responsible for investigating private and public sector innovations, technology transfer to Lotus and program management. He has assisted Lotus Engineering in designing lightweight, cost effective solutions for the transportation industry, including body structures, chassis/suspensions, closures and interiors. Prior to working at Lotus, Peterson spent 18 years at Pontiac Engineering and CPC Advanced Vehicle Engineering including assisting in the development of GM’s only two-seat mid-engine sports car and the initial engineering of the second-generation model.

The 2014 RIT Formula Racecar will be unveiled at the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival on Saturday, May 3. Each year the team designs a competitive formula-style racecar and competes in national and international collegiate design competitions. For the last few years, the team has focused its development plans on lightweight design to improve its speed and fuel efficiencies. Last year, the team received top placements in individual events and was recognized for its lightweight car design, winning the Audi Ultra Light Design Award at SAE Formula Student Germany.

For more information about the presentation, contact formula@rit.edu.