The HFR team, based out of the College of Engineering and drawing students from all across campus, earned its best ever finish on Saturday by placing 20th out of 116 teams in the prestigious Michigan Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Collegiate Design Series event at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. The world’s largest collegiate competition for designing open-wheeled formula-style race cars featured 2,300 of the best and brightest student designers from Canada, the United States and Mexico, as well as Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Germany, Poland, Singapore, Spain, South Korea and Venezuela.
HFR team president Nialls Cherak said they were thrilled with the results.
“I wouldn’t say we were surprised, but we were very excited,” he said. “The main change in the team this year was the support from the university. We had significantly more faculty involvement in the design and manufacturing processes. It’s just more validation of our engineering designs that helped us get up there (in the final standings). So, it is very significant for us.”
Cherak was joined on the team by fellow students Layla Bekkaoui, Matthew Bergquist, Josef Beug, Carter Bohn, Kyle Dansereau, Brendan Deibert, Benjamin Gagnon, Monte Gorchinski, Anthony Grasdal, Andrew Hardy, Matt Hill, Annika Holmstrom, Mitchel Knaus, Chad Lucyshyn, Smit Patel, Griffin Smith, Chad Stephens, Chennoa Tracey, Chase Weir and Renlee Weir, along with faculty advisor Mike Miller, lab co-ordinator in mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering.
“We are extremely proud of the performance of our Huskie Formula Racing design team in this world-class competition,” said College of Engineering Dean Suzanne Kresta. “This is a wonderful example of the interdisciplinary excellence, enthusiasm and effort that our students showcase on a daily basis, not only in the College of Engineering, but all across campus.”
The U of S representatives were one of the few teams to successfully complete all three static and four dynamic events at this year’s competition, while also faring well in the marketing and cost competitions.
“It was a pretty big deal for us,” said Cherak. “It was our first year running an aerodynamics package on the car (to improve the overall handling of the car). It was also the first year that the team finished endurance (the dynamic event in which teams are judged on car durability, lap times and fuel economy) without any major issues.”
HFR’s car ran well with no system failures or setbacks during the endurance event to wrap up the multi-faceted competition, which was won this year by the University of Stuttgart in Germany.
“Our design process consists of three stages; designing the car, validating it using the theoretical and analytical techniques that we have learned (in the classroom), and finally real-world testing at competition,” said Cherak.
Huskie Formula Racing has been competing for 20 years in the Formula SAE Collegiate Design Series, dating back to 1997. The HFR is an interdisciplinary group of U of S students from each of the engineering disciplines, as well as the College of Arts and Science, the Edwards School of Business and a variety of other colleges across campus.