CTR Home Internal  Relations and Communications Home About CTR Publication Schedule CTR Archives

June 6, 2002 Innovative Formula car earns high marks in Detroit



by Barbara Black

Automotive engineering undergraduates stretch their skills by taking part in international competitions, usually in the United States, for which they face a specific challenge — adapting a conventional vehicle to run on alternate fuel, or creating a new vehicle that goes as fast or as efficiently as possible.

At Concordia, students do this without the lavish support available to some of their American competitors, using their own resources to construct the car, get it to the competition, and house and feed their team. Nonetheless, Concordia’s Formula SAE team did remarkably well at a competition of 129 teams held in Detroit May 18-19. The team came 45th overall out of 129, but came first for having the “best-costed car,” receiving a plaque and a $500 cash prize.

Team member Rudy Chang said in an e-mail, “Only one member had any prior experience at this event. We came within three places of making the design semifinals, in which we would have competed against the top 15 teams of the competition for the best-engineered car. Peter Silvano and Frederick Guay presented the car with expertise to the judges.

“We developed a car that was never really attempted before. Our linear sliding pillar suspension was the talk of the competition, along with other distinctive features.

“One highlight was making the cut for the endurance race against the best teams. Our two drivers were able to pass four cars before an abrupt ending due to a loose hoseclamp holding the muffler with four laps remaining. The second highlight was the fact Allen Stanford of England’s Race Car Engineering magazine was so ecstatic about our car that he spent 45 minutes interviewing our team. He plans to write an article about Concordia SAE’s formula car within the next two issues of Race Car Engineering.

The team appreciate the generous help from sponsors Mechtronix, SKF, ECA and Polaris Industries. As the result of their success, the team has acquired some sponsorship for next year, and “has fueled our lust to improve our vehicle for years to come.”