Carleton University’s Ravens Racing Team unveiled its new gas-powered formula race car today in the culmination of a year-long project that will take the team to international competition. This year’s car was assembled by 25 fourth-year engineers and a large team of volunteers.
The vehicle is a gas-powered model that builds upon the team’s knowledge base from previous years. Very few components were reused from last year’s model, with the team opting to re-engineer and overhaul much of the design. Upgrades include a new suspension system featuring a torsion bar developed in-house. The innovations wouldn’t have been possible without the expertise of the students and their faculty advisors, say team members.
“We work hard and do this every year, and we succeed because of the know-how, dedication and endurance of the entire team,” said Kenneth Chow, team lead and fourth-year mechanical engineering student.
The students have put the vehicle through a series of tests in order to take it to competition. The most important is the 22-kilometre test, an endurance run that replicates the competition environment. Chow says that this trial determines whether a car will last or break down during competition, and the Ravens Racing vehicle handled the test well.
Ravens Racing began building race cars in 1998. Until recent years, students in the department operated two teams. One team consisted of fourth-year undergraduate engineers who received a full-year credit for designing, manufacturing and testing their components on a formula race car. The other team was composed of volunteer students from various academic years and disciplines who worked on an additional vehicle. In the 2011/2012 academic year, the volunteer team was converted to a feeder program to prepare students to be a part of the project in their fourth year. The feeder program is open to any undergraduate or graduate student at Carleton.
“New engineering students often aren’t sure what to expect from the program and university life in general,” said Chow. “By forming the feeder program, the idea was to get students started with Ravens Racing in their lower years and establish both a knowledge base and a passion for formula race car design and execution.”
Chow is leading the team for the last time before he graduates this year. He says that being a part of Ravens Racing is a highlight of his time at Carleton.
“Being able to conceptualize and develop a design, and to finally implement and build it, is a great experience,” says Chow. “When my teammates and I graduate, we’ll be able to prove to industry specialists that we can put pencil to paper to develop actual designs and working components. It’s experiences like this that aspiring engineers come to Carleton for.”
The team will take their vehicle to a series of competitions, the first of which is the Formula SAE Series in Michigan from May 14 to May 17, 2014. The team is still raising funds to cover competition costs using Carleton’s FutureFunder platform, and you can donate to their efforts here.
Media Relations Officer
613-520-2600, ext. 1391