College club designs and builds racing car | New
Blazing speed, painstaking precision and impeccable design are all things to consider when designing a racing car, and no one knows this better than Tiger Racing, the university’s own group of students. who builds racing cars from scratch.
The LSU Formula Student Automotive Engineering Club created Tiger Racing to compete in the Formula SAE Collegiate Design Series at Michigan International Speedway in May. The competition brings together around 120 universities from around the world, all competing in various fields that test the car designs, concepts and understanding of the engineering students behind their project.
Mechanical engineering junior and Tiger Racing president Matthew Richards said the competition features dynamic and static events.
âIn static events, you are judged on your presentation skills, your profitability of the car, your design of the car,â Richards said. âIn dynamic events you really have to drive the car. “
The Tiger Racing team is made up of around 30 students from different disciplines, and each shares the task of designing and building the car from scratch, said Richards.
Students are allowed to consult outside professors and alumni, he said, but according to the rules, they cannot physically help with the construction at all.
Tiger Racing’s car features a metal frame that sits low to the ground, accompanied by big tires and a 600cc engine pulled from a mid-level road bike, said Chad Becht, director of mechanical engineering and captain of the Tiger Racing team.
When complete, the car will weigh 450 to 500 pounds and have 80 horsepower, he said, and the gearing is set for the car to reach top speeds of up to 90 mph. The car is also capable of going from 0 to 60 mph in less than three seconds.
The car is still under construction and won’t be finalized for some time, Richards said. However, there will be tests in mid-March that will include driving the car for the first time to allow the team to assess what works and what doesn’t, he said.
University students have been participating in the competition since the mid-90s, when it began as a senior wrap-up project that paired engineering students in groups to build the car for a grade.
A recent initiative by several students transformed the program which was in danger of closing into an official club open to all university students.
âIn recent years it has been [a capstone project]so only the seniors were really a part of building a car, and we took it out of that magnitude into a club where we can have students from all programs, âsaid Richards.
According to David Yingst, director of mechanical engineering, chief engineer of Tiger Racing, the club’s new format will allow a transfer of knowledge from one year to the next, which was not possible with the synthesis project.
“We will be able to have the inheritance of knowledge [and] improving things year after year instead of having to completely overhaul and reinvent the wheel every year, âsaid Yingst.
Becht said the car’s goal this year is simplicity, which can eliminate potential failures on the road.
The previous teams have not done well, he said, as there was not enough time to test the car before the competition and malfunctions inevitably occurred. Becht said the goal this year is to finish in the top 50.
âIt’s like a real world engineering problem: you just have to figure out what your goal is and find a way to get there,â Becht said.
Tiger Racing will have more than one driver to manage the car in the various tests of the competition, but Becht said the team has an elite driver by his side, which could give him an advantage.
Steven Rougeou, a second year mechanical engineering student and Tiger Racing driver, has two World Karting Association national championships to his credit and travels the country in various races.
Rougeou went to Michigan in 2010 but was unable to drive the car in competition due to electrical issues, he said in an email.
In fact, seeing the car perform well in competition this year is Rougeou’s goal, and from there, he said, the team can gain knowledge and experience for the year. next.
âIn any race experience is the deciding factor between winning and losing and keeping the tires on the car. I’m by no means the best runner, but when you train and do it enough times you uncover all the secrets, âhe said.
Richards and Becht said the future was bright for LSU FSAE and Tiger Racing, and both said this year would be a starting point for the team to potentially grow into a world-class racing team.
âWe’re a bunch of volunteers here – no money, no notes – we do it just because we love it,â Becht said.