Grand Prix Engineering Team Ready to Go Racing

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Students with a variety of motorsports interests have spent the past year designing, building and testing a race car to compete in the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers event June 16-19 in Las Vegas.

Members of the Grand Prix Engineering team are taking their love of motorsports to Las Vegas for a high-stakes game of racing in the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers competition beginning Wednesday and lasting through Saturday, June 16-19. This is the first institute student competition team to put its hard work to the test in an off-campus, non-virtual event since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Formula SAE competition has challenged teams of undergraduate and graduate students to conceive, design, fabricate, develop, and compete with small, formula-style vehicles. Teams demonstrate their vehicles in a series of performance events, both on and off the racetrack, to achieve high-performance characteristics and meet design goals.

“We’re looking forward to seeing everything come together and see where we stack up against other quality teams,” said team member Ben Christiansen, a mechanical engineering student. “This will be the payoff for all the hard work that we’ve put into developing this car.”

Owen Campbell, another mechanical engineering student, adds, “We’re a bunch of students who really love cars. This competition allows us to put our engineering skills to work. It’s fun to see something we have built entirely from the ground up, completely from scratch, and having it compete against other teams.”

Each year the Grand Prix Engineering team creates a new formula-style racer with members working well into the night in the Branam Innovation Center to assemble an all-new steel chassis along with drivetrain, engine, braking, steering, and electrical subsystems.

“This is a smaller-scale version of an Indy car racer, with much less engine horsepower,” Christiansen said.

Once assembled, the team tested the vehicle, first on campus and then on an available runway at Terre Haute Regional Airport – hoping to replicate conditions at this week’s Formula SAE competition.

In Las Vegas, the team’s car must clear technical inspections by judges before being tested for braking, acceleration, and agility. Then, there will be short- and long-course racing events and an obstacle course. Teams earn points in each of these stages, including their original design proposal.

Grand Prix Engineering team’s drivers will be mechanical engineering students Nachi Hosahatti, Josh Selig, and Rishav Khosla and electrical engineering student Tiarnan Rice.

Other team members participating in this week’s competition are mechanical engineering students Christian Cseri and Charlie Springer along with electrical engineering students William Chong and Blake Johnson. The team had another 10 members from a variety of academic majors who contributed to design, build and test the car during the 2020-21 school year.