The racing team from Missouri University of Science and Technology took first place over the weekend in season-opening formula car action at Virginia International Raceway.
The top four collegiate racing teams in Virginia were Missouri S&T, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Illinois and the University of Wisconsin. A total of 28 teams competed.
The team from Missouri will now prepare its miniature Indy-style racing car for competitions at Michigan Speedway in May and California Auto Speedway in June. More than 100 teams are expected in Michigan, where Missouri S&T placed eighth last year.
At the competitions, which are sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers, teams from around the world are judged in several performance categories. Acceleration tests resemble drag races, while endurance tests require the cars to race for long distances. Judges also evaluate cost and design.
The miniature race cars are capable of traveling at speeds of up to 100 mph. Missouri S&T’s 2009 car weighs 435 pounds.
In Virginia, S&T won the endurance race by more than 20 seconds.
Approximately 40 students from S&T are involved in every stage of creating the racing machine, from computer modeling to welding the frame. Each year, the students design and manufacture a new formula car.
In 2008, Missouri S&T finished second at Virginia International Raceway. Coming into the 2009 season, S&T was the No. 9 ranked college formula car team in the world. The Universitat Stuttgart started the season ranked No. 1.
Several of Missouri S&T’s high-performance vehicles from previous years have been sold at auctions, mostly to alumni, but the university keeps a few on campus for driver training.