In May, a team of Carleton mechanical engineering students brought their non-hybrid race car to the Formula North competition in Barrie, On. Teams from 27 Canadian, American and European universities took the opportunity to demonstrate their vehicle concepts.
The Carleton team, which ran its project in parallel with the Carleton FSAE Hybrid project, was composed solely of student volunteers. The team experienced its fair share of adversity. When an engine failure forced a complete engine overhaul less than three weeks before the competition, a section of the car had to be partially rebuilt to accommodate the new equipment.
“It has been a huge uphill battle for this project, but we ended up in a great place,” said Kenneth Chow, second-year mechanical engineering student and team captain. “We really experienced what it’s like at competition.”
Despite difficulties prior to the race, the Carleton car proved to be quite reliable when the competition began. While teams from other schools dropped out due to engine failure and other crippling technical difficulties, the Carleton team was among only 16 that survived the entire competition.
The competition included a variety of dynamic events designed to test various car components, including design, acceleration, endurance and fuel economy.
Next, the team plans to compete against 120 teams from around the world at the Michigan FSAE event in 2013. They also plan to return to Formula North next year.
“This time we’ll be more prepared,” said Chow. “Now we know what we have to do to improve the car.”
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