Scaled-down Indy cars like this one will be roaring around a parking lot at Lawrence Technological University Saturday at the university’s ninth annual Grand Prix.
Nine colleges and universities will rev up their scaled-down race cars Saturday as Lawrence Technological University hosts its annual LTU Blue Devil Motorsports Grand Prix for Formula SAE teams.
The event runs from 1 to 5 p.m. in Parking Lot D, along Northwestern Highway on the Lawrence Tech campus. (For location and directions, see www.ltu.edu/map.) The event is free and open to the public, and will feature a time-trial competition between the student vehicles.
Formula SAE is a student design competition organized by SAE International (formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers). The competition started in 1978 and was originally called SAE Mini Indy. In Formula SAE, student teams design and build a roughly half-scale Formula-style race car. In competitions each spring, the cars are judged on design, cost, manufacturability, acceleration, handling, fuel economy and endurance.
Formula SAE has since launched spinoffs into other types of vehicles – Baja SAE for off-road vehicles, Formula Hybrid for hybrid gasoline-electric vehicles, Aero Design for large model airplanes, and Supermileage for ultra-high-mileage cars.
Saturday, Lawrence Tech will run its Formula SAE, Baja, Hybrid, and Supermileage vehicles.
Other colleges and universities scheduled to participate in the event are Central Michigan University, Hope College, Kettering University, Oakland University, the University of Toledo, the University of Windsor, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University.
Steven Rehak, a senior in mechanical engineering at LTU who’s employed as a program manager at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, noted that SAE teams from different universities seldom have a chance to interact during spring competitions. The idea behind the Grand Prix, he said, was “to give the students a chance to meet and start building a professional network now, since many of these students from different universities will wind up working with each other.”
Added Selin Arslan, associate dean of LTU’s College of Engineering and faculty advisor for the LTU Formula SAE team: “The Grand Prix is not only a great opportunity for our Blue Devil Motorsports teams to meet with other teams and benchmark, but also for all the teams to test their vehicles.”
More about Blue Devil Motorsports at https://www.ltu.edu/motorsports