Formula racing team tests car at Michigan competition

Sammy Caiola

The Northwestern Formula Racing Team came home victorious Saturday after the Formula SAE Michigan competition, where they spent four days showing off the racecar they have spent all year constructing from scratch.

The car, which can go up to 80 mph, was transported to Brooklyn, Mich., on May 11 for a series of static and dynamic tests. The competition started with a business and cost presentation, along with a design assessment, all of which NU’s car scored well on, said chief engineer Ben Kolodner.

Kolodner, a fifth-year McCormick student, said after completing the skidpad and autocross, two of three dynamic events, the car made it to endurance, the final component of the competition. After racing for 18 out of 28 laps, the car broke down due to a fault in the fuel system, but Kolodner said it got farther than 60 percent of the competition.

Competing in all of the events was an accomplishment in itself, Kolodner said, because competitors can be eliminated between rounds for inadequate performance.

“I’m extremely proud of the team,” Kolodner said. “We did better than we expected. Considering that no one on the team has really built a car before, we did better than all the other rookie teams. Next year will be even better.”

Jacob Buser, a McCormick freshman who works on the suspension team, was one of four team members to drive the car at the competition. He said it was a lot of fun.

“Our goal was to complete all the events, but it was definitely a good overall experience,” Buser said. “I got a lot of great ideas about next year, and it was encouraging.”

This is the second car project manager and fifth-year McCormick student Brendon DiVincenzo has worked on, and he said this model is ahead of the last. Although he will not be around to work on the new car for next year’s competition, he suggests that it be lighter and more powerful.

“My goal when I took over was to get a team to a competition with a car, and we took a big team with a pretty fast car and I couldn’t be happier about that,” DiVincenzio said.

[email protected]