RIT Racing Team Competes in Formula SAE at Michigan International Speedway

Student group designed and built Formula-style race car for competition

A. Sue Weisler

Jon Pickard, a mechanical engineering major and chief engineer of RIT’s Formula SAE racing team, drives the 2007-2008 racecar in Simone Circle for the racer’s ceremonial unveiling May 3 as part of the Imagine RIT: Innovation and Creativity Festival.

A student led racing team from Rochester Institute of Technology is competing in Formula SAE, a national student design and racing competition, which is being held May 16-17 at Michigan International Speedway in Dearborn, outside of Detroit. The competition, sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers, features over 100 university teams from around the world that will compete in a series of races over the two-day event that test speed, off road capability and endurance.

This is the 16th year RIT has developed a car for the Formula SAE competition. The current entry was conceived and built by a 35-member student team incorporating a wide variety of disciplines from engineering to computer science to marketing. The Formula-style, six-speed vehicle has a top speed of approximately 85 miles per hour and accelerates from zero to 60 mph in about four seconds.

“When you think about that, a $90,000 Porsche 911 won’t accelerate that quickly and that car has 40-50 years worth of research and development of professional engineers behind it, whereas we’ve got 15 years’ worth of undergraduate student work,” says Dave Holland, a fourth-year mechanical engineering major and member of the RIT Formula team.

The team, which is advised by Alan Nye, RIT professor of mechanical engineering, and Dave Hathaway, mechanical engineering operations manager, will also compete at the Formula Student Germany contest Aug. 6-10 in Hockenheim.


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