WPI's Formula SAE student team places 25th

Contact: WPI Media Relations, 508-831-5616

Worcester, Mass. --WPI's Formula SAE student team placed 25 out of 93 collegiate teams at the annual Formula SAE Competition at the Pontiac Silverdome in Auburn Hills, Michigan in mid-May. WPI's seven member team built the race car as part of the competition sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers, General Motors, Ford and Chrysler. Teams came from the U.S., Canada and the United Kingdom.

The events pits teams of students against each other in a competition to design and build an open-wheeled, formula-type race car that is put through a battery of performance and design and performance tests. Team advisor was Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Joseph Rencis. The WPI vehicle was built as a Major Qualifying Project by seniors Martin Lopez, Eron Flory, David Paulk, Steve Brockway and Todd Holbrook. Emilio Ciasullo, a junior, also was part of the MQP team. Two juniors, John Toscana and Matt Bettez, also traveled to Michigan to observe and assist with team operations and prepare for next year's competition. Mechanical Engineering Department members Bob Taylor, supervisor of technicians, and Steve Derosier, lab machinist, also were part of the team.

For the purpose of the competition, the students are to assume that a manufacturing firm wants them to produce a prototype car for evaluation as a production item. The intended sales market is the non-professional weekend autocross racer. The car must have high performance in terms of accdeleration, braking and handling qualities. The manufacturing firm intends to produce 1,000 cars per year at a cost below $8,000. The challenge to the design team is to design and fabricate a prototype car that best meets these goals.

"This was an extremely reliable car," said Rencis. "It was one of the few cars that finished every race during the three-days of competition without any mechanical problems. We also did quite well in the acceleration tests - finishing 16 overall. We had a heavy car at 640 pounds and one of our heavier drivers during this portion but number 76 proved its mettle."

At the awards luncheon WPI was recognized as one of the teams that finished all events. Todd Holbrook was recognized for his electronics work of the traction system with one of the Delco Automotive Innovative Electronics Awards.

WPI performance scores were: 20th in endurance and economy; 38th in autocross; 31st in skid pad; 23rd in cost and 39th in presentation. The team's report with its documentation was rated 8th overall. The overall team winner was Cornell

The day before the competition the team and WPI alumni of the Detroit area were feted at a reception at the Cadillac Historical Museum in Warren, Mich.