Two Missouri S&T racecar design teams to race in Nebraska

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On June 9, 2016

Two teams of students from Missouri University of Science and Technology will demonstrate their Formula One-style racecars at Formula SAE-Lincoln, an international student design competition sponsored by the SAE International.

The competition, held June 15-18, at the Lincoln Airpark in Lincoln, Nebraska, challenges students to design, build and operate Formula One-style racecars. The competition features two separate categories – one for traditional combustion engines and one for fully electric vehicles. Missouri S&T’s Formula SAE and Formula SAE Electric teams will both compete at the event.

As part of the competition, students must present a budget report and the engineering principles behind each car’s design to a panel of industry experts. The electric team will also have to pass a rigorous electronics inspection to ensure the car’s safety. Teams will then compete in four dynamic events.

A skid-pad event tests the car’s turning and cornering on a figure-8-shaped course. An acceleration test measures the car’s speed over a short distance. A one-lap autocross event proves the car’s maneuverability on a tight course and determines the starting order for the final event – an endurance race to prove durability. In the endurance race, the car must withstand the stress of long-term driving at elevated speeds over a long course. Each race is timed to rank the teams; none of the events are head-to-head races.

The combustion-style Formula SAE car features a modified Kawasaki engine that can propel the vehicle to speeds of up to approximately 65 mph. The car underwent several hours of wind tunnel testing to help the team design a custom aerodynamics package. Its custom fittings produce a large amount of downward force and are designed to help the car’s tires grip the track better. At its most recent competition in early June, the combustion-style team earned first place at the Formula North competition.

The Formula SAE Electric Team’s car has a student-designed and -made steel chassis, fiberglass protective shell and suspension system. The car’s battery pack features over 50 lithium battery cells. It can produce a maximum voltage of nearly 300 volts and a current of approximately 200 amps.

Dr. Hank Pernicka, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Missouri S&T, is the Formula SAE Team’s faculty advisor, and Dr. Ryan Hutcheson, assistant teaching professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at Missouri S&T, is the Formula SAE Electric Team’s faculty advisor. For more information about the events, visit

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On June 9, 2016. Posted in Featured, News, Student Life

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