GM Corvette engine build and demonstrations taking place at Imagine RIT

RIT motorsport teams unveil new race vehicles for campus fans before season competitions begin




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A. Sue Weisler

RIT Baja Racing takes to the air at Imagine 2016; the team will unveil its new car at this year’s festival.

All things cars and motorsports can be found at Imagine RIT this year.

RIT’s three sleek Formula racecars, Baja off-road vehicle, Hot Wheelz hybrid electric Formula car and EVO, the electric motorcycle, all built by RIT students, will be unveiled as part of the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival. Each team will take a spin around Simone Circle starting at 11 a.m. on May 6.

The annual unveiling is one of the most anticipated parts of the festival and draws alumni from each of the teams as well as families, friends and fans. Performance teams unveil new vehicle designs prior to competitions that begin in spring and extend through the summer, and they are available throughout the day to discuss their work.

This year marks RIT Formula Racing’s 25th anniversary, and to commemorate the milestone, the team will field two competition cars, a traditional gasoline engine vehicle and a new electric vehicle. They also will run the first racecar built in 1992 to highlight the team’s anniversary season, bringing back members of the first team, including founder and driver Lynn Bishop ’95 (mechanical engineering).

New to the festival will be an engineering team from the General Motors Powertrain plant who will break down and re-build a Corvette engine in the Gordon Field House. The team was on campus this past October as part of National Manufacturing Day, hosted by RIT’s College of Applied Science and Technology. Their return is a chance to better understand the engine manufacturing process and to learn more about new technology going into designs as well as how current and prospective students might prepare for careers in the field.

The performance team unveiling is only one major event among many that showcase how RIT’s students and faculty have immersed themselves in new vehicle designs, innovative technologies and alternative engine and fuel research. Other related exhibits getting the green light at Imagine are the clean snowmobile, electric wooden go-carts, an autonomous model car competition, a passenger car driving simulator and an autonomous people mover.