Formula team preps for more competition
Imagine creating something with a group of students and then shipping the end result halfway around the world to compete against upwards of 100 other teams. This is exactly what Zips Racing, the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) team does at The University of Akron.
“Formula is a student design team where we design and race a formula style car every year and compete against other schools from around the world,” said Kevin Musial, a senior mechanical engineering student and the engine team leader.
Zips Racing has competed in Michigan, Germany and Finland, and a competition in Toronto is scheduled for October. Their most recent races were in Germany and Finland.
The ZR13, Akron’s 2013 car, competed in four dynamic events: acceleration, skid-pad, autocross and endurance. Dynamic events measure the car’s on-track performance.
In addition to these events there were three static events (mark
eting, cost and design), which analyze the car from a business venture standpoint.
In past years the formula car came in 12th, but in Germany, the team came in sixth overall, an improvement that can be attributed to the new design. This included the addition of an “aero” package and changes to wheel size and engine selection.
The formula team’s work week, which sometimes reached 80 hours, paid off this year. After their finish, the team was ranked seventh in the world and third in the United States.
There are already plans for improvement on the car. Some of the areas of focus are to cut vehicle weight and to make the car more fuel efficient. Every component on the car is analyzed and students work long into the night.
“It’s a labor of love,” said Preston Davis, a mechanical engineering student and the team’s composite manufacturer. “If we didn’t love this then we wouldn’t be here.”
The team is excited for their upcoming race in Toronto, which they won last year. The formula team meets weekly to design, manufacture and test the car.
“The formula team is open to any majors and prior experience is not necessary,” said Ryan Kruse, senior mechanical engineering student and team captain. “We are specifically looking for electrical engineer majors.”
Interested students can email Kruse at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about the team.