A team of students from the University of Missouri-Rolla has designed a formula-style racing car that can go from 0-60 mph in 3.2 seconds.
UMR will compete in the Formula SAE East competition May 16-20 at the Ford Proving Grounds near Detroit. At the event, which is sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers, cars from college and university teams are judged in cost, design and performance categories, including acceleration tests that resemble drag races, and an endurance test.
UMR students design and manufacture a new car for the competition each year. Several of the old high-performance vehicles have been sold in auctions, mostly to alumni, but the university keeps a few on campus for driver training.
Multiple drivers for each team participate in the competition. UMR’s drivers are selected based on the best practice times. According to UMR’s appropriately named team leader, Scott Race, the 2007 car can go 85 mph. Race is a senior in mechanical engineering from Kirkwood, Mo.
About 40 students are involved in every stage of creating the racing machine, from computer modeling to welding the car’s steel frame.
The UMR team raises about $50,000 per year for materials, tooling, parts and travel. Some teams spend a lot more. UMR has finished in the top 20 in nine of the past 12 competitions, including third and fourth place finishes.
UMR’s team advisor is Dr. Hank Pernicka, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering.