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spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer spacer May 18, 2007

Formula team savors pre-event success


RIT President Albert Simone climbed into the driver’s seat of F-15, this year’s newly designed Formula SAE racecar, during its unveiling ceremony May 4. Team advisor Alan Nye looks on.

Submitted by Dave Holland

Along with a newly expanded machine shop, the Formula team also experienced another luxury this year. In contrast to the all-nighters and narrowly met deadlines that became almost customary in years past, this year’s car was ready, right on time.

“Our goal was to complete the car as soon as possible so we’d have time to test it, make adjustments and do fine-tuning,” says project manager Anthony Capobianco, a fifth-year mechanical engineering major.

As scheduled, on April 1 drivers tested the car for the first time, allowing the team more than a month for adjusting and tuning before the Formula SAE Competition, the culmination of the team’s hard work and long hours.

The annual competition, held May 19-20 at the Ford Michigan Proving Grounds in Romeo, Mich., simulates the process automobile companies must go through to turn a simple prototype into a full production vehicle. In addition to performance testing for acceleration, handling and braking, this year’s 130 collegiate teams are also judged based on their cost analysis, overall engineering design and a sales presentation, which is judged based on the car’s feasibility for production.

Though they’ve yet to compete, this year has already been a success because of the many team goals that have been met and exceeded.

“In the past, we had always been extremely strong in our engineering, but the strong team component was lacking,” says Capobianco. “This year we created two new leadership roles that have strengthened both the team and our car’s performance.”

As newly appointed associate project manager, fifth-year mechanical engineering major Lawrence Litchfield established a production schedule and managed the production of the car, which successfully met the deadline, which had been established seven months prior.

Led by fifth-year mechanical engineering major Laurie Underhill, the New Vehicle Dynamics group bridged the gap between the test track and the auto shop by gathering test data, then creating solutions to improve upon the observations made while testing.

“This year, we realized that every role on this team is very important and the entire team is committed to doing what’s necessary to win,” says Capobianco.

Brandon Borgna

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