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Off To The Races: Mechanical Engineering Students Race to Strong 15th Place in National SAE Competition
May 24, 2012
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology students are on the fast
track, placing a strong 15th in the Society of Automotive
Engineers' formula racing challenge, one of the most competitive of
collegiate engineering design challenges.
||Speed Racer: Rose-Hulman's Formula SAE race car speeds down
the race track during this year's competition at Michigan
The Formula SAE competition has teams designing, building and
testing a prototype based on a series of rules whose purpose is
both to ensure onsite event operations and promote problem
Then, over the course of three days at Michigan International
Speedway (MIS), the vehicles were judged in a series of static and
dynamic events, including: cost analysis, engineering design, solo
performance trials and high-performance track endurance. The events
are scored to determine how well the car performs.
Better motor performance and a 72-pound weight reduction helped
Rose-Hulman improve 40 positions from last year's 55th place
performance. The team was a model of consistency on the track,
placing 14th in the endurance event, 17th in the skidpad event,
20th in the economy event and 22nd in the autocross event.
"We designed smart, had great teamwork and knew how our vehicle
performed-inside and out," stated Andrew Marrack, a senior
mechanical engineering major. "It's hard to put into words the
feeling of accomplishment that this team has in this vehicle."
Fellow senior mechanical engineering student, Malhon Godwin
added, "The highlight was seeing everything come together in one
competitive race car-from tubes in the garage last fall to one of
the strongest teams at the competition this spring. It has been a
labor of love for some dedicated team members."
Students and faculty advisors Patrick Cunningham and Daniel
Kawano also take pride in re-establishing Rose-Hulman in the
Formula SAE competition after a 21-year absence.
"Other teams and the SAE officials took notice of our strong
performance this year," stated Daniel Watson, a senior mechanical
engineering major. "The seniors came into this project wanting to
showcase Rose-Hulman in this top racing competition. We're not
satisfied yet, but we have taken big strides during the past two
years. We have set a strong foundation for the future."
|Proud Of Effort: Members of Rose-Hulman's Formula SAE
race team were proud of this year's 15th-place finish,
which was quite an improvement from last year's
This year's Formula SAE competition attracted 118 teams from
Austria, Canada, Finland, Germany, Singapore, South Korea,
Venezuela, and the United States. Rose-Hulman's performance
this year was eighth best among American college and university
teams. The team also earned a Formula SAE Recognition of
Accomplishment Award for successfully scoring in all events.
"It was exciting to see the creativity and innovation displayed
by collegiate engineering students who are preparing to enter the
workforce," stated Matt Miller, director of the SAE Foundation and
pre-professional programs, in a news release about this year's
event. "Events like Formula SAE competitions showcase the talents
of students from around the world who are the future of our
industry. The highly competitive outcomes of the competitions were
a testament to the education these students are receiving in the
Godwin, one of the drivers for the Rose-Hulman team, stated,
"Passing other cars on the track was really fun. Knowing that we
had built a fast car, entirely from scratch, really got our
competitive juices racing."
Sophomore mechanical engineering student Cody Jolly brought
considerable go-cart racing experience to driving Rose-Hulman's
vehicle in the endurance and autocross events.
"Being behind the wheel of that car was thrilling and awesome. I
couldn't get enough," he stated. "Really, I didn't want the
competition to end. I was having too much fun. This was definitely
my best experience so far at Rose-Hulman. I can't wait until next
See what it is like to drive Rose-Hulman's Formula SAE racer at
Other drivers were Graham Blyth, a senior mechanical engineering
major, Godwin and Watson. Senior Matt Kennedy and junior Jay Kautz
made the team's cost impact presentation.
The Formula SAE project is part of Rose-Hulman's Advanced
Transportation Systems program. Learn more about the program at http://www.rose-hulman.edu/advancedtransportation/.