U of G racers perform well at international event
University of Guelph engineering students who built the first all-wheel-drive race car to compete in the largest prototype race in the world were the second-place Canadian team at the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) competition. The 12 members of Guelph’s FSAE race team placed 17th out of 129 teams at the May 19 to 23 event in Michigan.
“Everyone is amazed with the overall results,” said engineering student Jason Griffith, co-manager of Guelph’s FSAE race team. “Our goal was to be in the top 20 and we did it. Racing with the best schools during the endurance was exhilarating, and I don't think there is any way to describe crossing the finish line.”
Entering the first all-wheel-drive car ever to compete was an advantage, said Griffith. “The cars in the competition are generally so light and so powerful that the rear wheels are always spinning when you go around corners or accelerate.” Having four-wheel drive improved the car’s traction and control. The car built by the U of G students can go from “zero to 60” in about four seconds, he said.
Teams have always had the option of building and entering all-wheel-drive cars, but it’s never been done before because of the complexity, Griffith explained. “The biggest challenge was getting the car through the technical inspection. There were a lot of little things that went wrong, and the team really had to work to get through.”
Haldex, a global supplier of car and truck products based in Sweden, provided the four-wheel-drive equipment and technical support. Other sponsors helped fund the materials needed to build the car, which cost upwards of $30,000 to create. “The team is currently discussing their goals for the upcoming year,” said Griffith. “There are talks of taking this year's car to Formula Australasia in December.”
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