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KU’s Formula SAE Team Gears up for Next Competition

Monday, June 1, 2009

Jayhawk Motorsports will compete at the Formula SAE California competition June 17-20 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif., after finishing third in autocross and making the semifinals of the design phase at the Formula SAE Michigan competition in May.

The students, all from the School of Engineering at the University of Kansas, designed and built a Formula-style open-wheel racecar that competed against more than 100 teams from universities around the world at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich.

“Our results in Detroit show the hard work the students have put into the program this year,” said Robert Sorem, associate professor of mechanical engineering, associate dean of the School of Engineering and team adviser. “With the time we have before the competition in California, we have high expectations for our results there.”

This year’s car, JMS-09, runs on fuel composed of 85 percent ethanol and 15 percent gasoline. Previous models have run on high-octane race fuel. The team conducted extensive research and testing and found performance benefits to match the ecological benefits of the renewable fuel source.

This year’s Formula SAE team is larger than ever, with more than 25 underclassmen volunteers, 15 seniors who chose the team as their senior design project and six graduate-level volunteers. Jayhawk Motorsports is supported by dozens of engineers and professionals in the automotive industry. The project gives students of all levels and disciplines real-world experience prior to their college graduation.

KU’s Formula SAE teams have enjoyed an international reputation for excellence. The team had a streak of six consecutive years as the sole team to complete all aspects of the competition, which tests the performance and durability of the vehicles and pushes teams to reach the highest levels of engineering creativity. KU’s team has earned three top-10 finishes in the past five years.

The Society of Automotive Engineers competition near Detroit consists of a number of competitions. The car underwent a technical inspection on the first day. On the next day, the team presented the racecar’s design and detailed its completion during a “sales pitch” to a panel of racing executives. On the third and fourth days of the event, the KU team competed against rival universities’ racecars in tests of acceleration, braking, autocross, fuel economy and endurance.


Vehicle specifications of KU’s JMS-09:

Overall length: 111.9 inches

Width: 54.4 inches

Height: 37.0 inches

Weight (race ready): 395 pounds

Suspension type: Double unequal A-arm, push rod actuated, horizontally (front) vertically (rear) oriented dual spring and damper

Wheels: 13 inch by 7 inch custom designed and manufactured in-house carbon fiber rims

Chassis: Composite monocoque with separable roll hoop structure

Engine: Aprilia SXV 550/550X – 549cc displacement 77 degree V twin

Fuel Type: E85


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