Lawrence Tech’s first foray into Canada to compete in the Great Northern Concrete Toboggan Race (GNCTR) proved to be memorable as the rookie team brought home three awards and the bragging rights as the world’s second fastest concrete toboggan.
Canadian universities have been competing in the GNCTR since 1975. A few American teams have competed in the past, but LTU was the only entry this year from south of the border. This year’s competition was hosted by Western University in London, Ont., Jan. 29 to Feb. 2.
Teams designed and constructed a safety superstructure, skis entirely composed of concrete, a steering system, and a braking system to safely transport five people. The weight limit was 300 lbs., and LTU’s toboggan, named “Made in Michigan,” was one of the lightest at 220 lbs.
The LTU team faced a major challenge on its first run in the Giant Slalom, a 400-foot Black Diamond run with three gates. “Made in Michigan” passed through each gate without a hitch, finished in 8.55 seconds, and reached a top speed of 40 km/hr or 24.8 mph – the second highest speed of the entire competition behind the University of British Columbia at Okanagan, which reached 42 km/hr. That performance also earned LTU the award for the Most Spectacular Run.
LTU did well in the Drag Strip, a straight run, with a time of 12.61 seconds. It did well in the King of the Hill Races by beating Royal Military College of Canada, the University of Manitoba, and University of Waterloo, but failed to make it to the finals because of an infraction.
LTU also took home the awards for Best Rookie Team and Best Steering Performance.
The overall winner of the competition was the University of Alberta, which assembled more than 30 people at the podium to accept the trophy.
In contrast, “Made in Michigan” had just nine student team members: Captain Felicia Koch, Jordan Britz, Yat Hui, Ryan Woloszyk, Kimberly Klieber, Jared King, Carlos Penaranda, Chris Bragg and Travis Ferrier.
“Overall, it was an exciting and amazing experience, and we can’t wait for next year,” Koch said. “We got to meet so many amazing engineering students from all across Canada.”
The LTU team was sponsored by Walbridge, Mannik Smith Group, Lafarge, OHM, LTU Dean of Engineering Nabil Grace, and LTU President Emeritus Richard Marburger.