Rose GPE Team Learns from Challenges in Las Vegas

Friday, July 23, 2021
Rose-Hulman's Grand Prix Engineering team

Rose-Hulman's GPE team learned from their challenges in the FSAE competition in Las Vegas.

The incessant sound of the clock mocks the crew as they impatiently watch the car tilt to the left with senior mechanical engineering major Nachi Hosahatti, the Rose-Hulman Grand Prix Engineering team’s tech lead, sitting in it. They poured hours into working on the car, and now they hope to finally pass the tilt test after successfully completing the technical inspection and fuel test. The team can’t help but smile as the judges finally give their tick of approval. Only one more to go and they can continue competing in the recent Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) competition in Las Vegas.

Upon arriving in Las Vegas on a Tuesday in mid-June, not only did the Rose GPE team members have to adjust to the time difference, but also the scorching sun. When the car arrived at the track, they quickly scrambled to get it ready for tech inspection. They mounted and secured the catch can and nosecone, installed and adjusted the front wing to fit the competition's needs, organized the electrical harness, and installed the brake. The team worked endlessly until 2 a.m., trying to get the tasks completed.

The second day there proved to be just as busy as the first, with the team beginning to work on the car as the sun began to rise. They struggled to accommodate the critical eye of the judges, especially when they received a long list of required fixes. All their hard work finally paid off when they passed gear check inspection, but they were far from done. The lines were long for these inspections, and they found themselves scrambling to finish before the tracks closed due to the extreme heat. Thankfully, there were friends from other schools who seemed to be in the same situation.

By Thursday, the heat became the hardest test for the team, and they couldn’t seem to get ahead. After staying up late into Wednesday night and getting to the track early again, team members were hot, tired, and running low on energy. Every hour seemed to fly by as they attempted to overcome challenges with their car. After days of tweaks, combing through hardware stores for parts, and long hours, they passed technical inspection. The RoseGPE team could not hold back their excitement and their frustration dissipated as they officially had a legal car to race by the standards of the FSAE.  

However, the battle to get to the tracks was far from over. The team still had to pass the sound test. They were unable to keep the car from idling and cutting out. Senior mechanical engineering major Josh Selig, who was the engine lead, worked tirelessly trying to find the problem. Senior electrical engineering major Tiarnan Rice found the issue was with the wiring, however, the team ran out of time before they could fix it.

While the knowledge of their loss weighed heavy on their minds, the team could not ignore all the wins they had during the process.

“I’m just really proud of the team for creating a car that was legal,” said sophomore chemical engineering major Christian Cseri. “It’s difficult to create a car within these hundred-plus pages of regulations, but we did it.”

They were able to think creatively about their problems and work within themselves and with those around them, Cseri said, noting the loss of this round only brings better odds for the team next year. The younger teammates were able to learn more from the upperclassmen. Together, they could appreciate their time in Vegas, not dwelling on losing, but rather acknowledging that losing is winning at Rose-Hulman. Every victory is celebrated because without the mistakes in the process, there is no way to grow as a team and as a person.

 “At the end of the day, we are just engineers,” Cseri said.

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