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Solid Results for Rose Grand Prix Engineering

Wednesday, July 26, 2017
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Endurance was the weak point for Rose GPE — no longer. The team has performed well in international competition.

Automotive competitions involve much more than speed and acceleration. Think endurance, fuel economy, cost and design. Rose GPE is savoring another successful year on and off the race track, placing 14th among 73 competitors at the Society of Automotive Engineers’ summer event in Nebraska, after scoring 30th out of 109 international teams at a May competition in Michigan.

Fuel economy, endurance and vehicle design were high points at both events. The team ranked sixth in fuel economy at the June 21-24 event (with a 94 score out of 100) and seventh at Formula SAE® Michigan. Rose GPE was 13th in endurance on the Michigan International Speedway track, while being 19th at Lincoln (Neb.) Airpark. The team tied for 16th in design at the summer event, with a vehicle that was the third lightest (369 pounds) in the field.

Daniel Kawano, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and team advisor, noted that, “The team was able to complete all events in this year’s Michigan competition. In the past two years at Michigan, the team failed to complete endurance, but this year they did.”

The team’s success reflects both solid engineering and process tweaks. This year’s vehicle uses an all-new frame and body, along with an improved aerodynamics package and extra damping of exhaust noise. Administratively, the president/vice president leadership model has been replaced with co-equals serving as team manager and technical lead.

Kawano credits 2017 graduate Brian Greenblatt, team manager and a three-year veteran of Rose GPE, with securing in-kind donations from sponsoring companies. “It’s a good lesson in project management,” says Kawano. “Budgeting, management and administrative details are things that other students don’t always see. If students take on a leadership role, they’ll have that experience.”

This year’s racing crew also exchanged ideas and made friends with competitors from throughout the U.S., along with teams from Brazil, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, Pakistan and South Korea. Think of Rose GPE as diplomacy with dynamometers and stopwatches.