By Joseph Mathieu
Carleton’s Ravens Racing team officially unveiled their 20th race car to the public on March 22, 2019 in the cavernous Shaw Centre at the Ottawa Gatineau International Auto Show.
“We just finished constructing this car a week and a half ago,” said team lead Jack Davies, Ravens Racing team lead. “For us, it’s a proud moment because we can display our completed work for the first time.”
The Ravens Racing car named RR19 was a major collaborative effort between approximately 40 Carleton students. Davies, a fourth-year Mechanical Engineering student who has worked on the team since 2016, is responsible for organizing the team and keeping things on track. His experience also helps the group from repeating past mistakes.
Though completely student-run, the Ravens Racing team is one of the 11 capstone projects that Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering students can complete in fourth year.
Starting each September, new team members are organized into sub-groups with at least one experienced student. From aerodynamics and electrical to the power train, engine and everything in between, the sub-groups team meets weekly to tinker and learn. Together, they build a race car that can go from zero to 100 kilometres an hour in 4.5 seconds.
“It’s a cool project for people to get involved in. We go out to the shop, we make things, we get our hands dirty building stuff,” said Davies.
Making the Car Tangible
Although the cars are built from scratch, some parts carry over from RR18, like the engine, shocks and computer. The chassis, suspension, and bodywork, as well as pedals, seats and steering, are all new. The team manufactures parts in the mechanical and aerospace machine shop.
“We get to do the engineering work on all the things we’re building, that we’re designing, and then we go into the shop and build those things,” said Davies. “And we test them, and break them and fix them. The interesting part is making it tangible.”
Carleton’s Campus Safety Services lets the team run tests in parking lot P6, where RR19 performed its first drives in mid-February. Some of the team’s sponsors also allow them to test on their tracks, like the Calabogie Motorsports Park and Le Circuit Quyon.
Ravens Racing to Compete with RR19 in International Competition
The car is registered to race at the Formula SAE Michigan, where the team placed seventh last year, and they hope to get into Formula SAE North at the end of May. This summer, the team will also travel to compete in smaller races called shootouts, fundraisers for other university teams in Pittsburgh and Toronto.
“Before competition we only allow our competition drivers to drive the cars,” said Davies. “We want them to have a better feel for how the car reacts in certain situations.”
After that competition season, however, everyone on the team can give it a whirl during “rip days.”
“We want to keep people passionate about it, continue to come and help and just have a good time.”
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