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Engineering Racecar Project Wins Honors at International Competition

Friday, June 15, 2007
 [Jayhawk Motorsports 2007 during competition. Photo by Jeff Narozny--Ford Photographic]

Engineering students at the University of Kansas earned a top-10 finish at the 2007 Society of Automotive Engineers Formula Car Challenge.

The Jayhawk Motorsports team placed 10th overall in the international competition held May 16-20 at the Ford Michigan Proving Grounds, Romeo, Mich. The achievement put the team at the top of all Big 12 contenders and well above several highly regarded engineering programs in the United States.

"It's great to be in the top 10 again this year," said Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Robert Sorem, faculty adviser for the team. Jayhawk Motorsports earned a fourth place finish in 2006. "students worked so hard and brought great ideas to the design process. It feels amazing to have their efforts and achievements validated though the vehicle's performance and by the professional engineers involved in the judging." The team has been a top-25 contestant in seven of the past nine years and is the only team to successfully complete all aspects of the grueling technical competition for the past seven years, said Sorem, who also is associate dean for the KU School of Engineering.

The Formula SAE competition required the 130 registered student teams to design, build and drive a small formula-style racecar. At the competition, the teams and their cars were evaluated in a series of eight static and dynamic events including high performance track endurance, acceleration, presentation, design, cost, and technical inspection. Student teams also were required to adhere to extensive safety regulations, submit thorough design information and make several technical presentations.

 [Jayhawk Motorsports 2007 Team with alumni who work at Ford Motor Co. Photo by Jeff Narozny--Ford Photographic]

In addition to a $250 cash prize and the 10th place Spirit of Excellence Award for finishing 10th overall, the team also brought home four awards from the competition:
· 1st place, Ductile Iron Design Contest, sponsored by the Ductile Iron Society, $2,000 prize
· 3rd place, ArvinMeritor Inc. Suspension System Award, $250 prize
· 4th place, Society of Plastic Engineers' composite Award, $400, and
· 4th place, ASBE Body Design Award.
The school also received special recognition during the awards ceremony for scoring in every event in the last eight years of competition.

Seniors in mechanical engineering have the option of taking part in the racecar project as part of the capstone design series of courses in their major. Underclassmen in mechanical engineering often volunteer to be a part of the team and are then better prepared for the class and familiar with the competition when they reach the senior level.

Learn more about Jayhawk Motorsports.

Learn more about Formula SAE Series Events.

Photos courtesy of Jeff Narozny -- Ford Photographic



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