Wyoming Motorsports Club Eyes International Race Car Competition
The members of the Wyoming Motorsports club are currently working hard towards the goal of bringing engineering to life for UW engineering students.
The Registered Student Organization at the University of Wyoming is hoping to use skills learned in the classroom in a real –life, hands on learning situation and to build an electric formula race car and enter it in the Society of Automotive Engineers’ Formula Hybrid competition in 2019 in Loudon, New Hampshire.
It’s a lofty goal, but the Motorsports club is going ahead full steam. Justin Stark, a UW engineering junior and vice president of the Wyoming Motorsports club said Andrew Oiler, a UW engineering senior and club president, founded the club because Oiler saw an opportunity to provide real hands–on experience for engineering students at the university. The club now has 10 members.
Stark said he thinks applying skills and concepts learned in the classroom is essential for students to learn.
“It’s crucial. It’s definitely good to go to college and learn all you can from professors, but that’s just from the textbook and from lecture,” Stark said. “You don’t really get any other hands on experience while you’re in the classroom. Students who are involved in a technical discipline will need professional, real experience.”
That experience is what the Motorsports club is looking to provide. The club is looking to enter the competition this year with an electric formula racecar. Stark said the powertrain - the group of components that power the driving wheels - on an electric racecar uses an electric motor rather than a combustion engine.
“We are designing an open-wheel formula racecar,” Stark said. “It’s pretty small honestly, if you wanted to compare it to an Indy 500 car, it’s probably a quarter of its size.”
The club will be entering the competition under the ‘hybrid in progress’ category and will be submitting a design with a motor and batteries this year. Next year, the club will be competing with a full hybrid drivetrain, which includes gas and electric components.
Stark said the cars will be subjected to multiple tests and many aspects will be judged to decide the winner – from the car’s speed and endurance to its design.
“It’s not just to win the race or to be the fastest,” Stark said. “But that is one of the best goals. If you don’t have one of the fastest cars then it’s kind of boring.”
Stark said the students are busy putting in the hard work of designing and constructing the car, but are looking from a little help from the community. Stark said monetary donations are welcome, as the club needs about $10,000 for the materials for the race car’s construction. Stark said spreading the word about the Motorsports team and their goals would help the team out as well. Stark said the group can be reached through their Facebook page. The club also produced an informational video on their YouTube channel with details on the project.
Stark said the race car is a good project for the Wyoming Motorsports club, because it is a multi-year project and incoming students can carry on the mantle of the graduating students, who will pass on what they’ve learned so far in designing and building the race car.
“The freshman who are coming in can constantly improve on the project,” Stark said. “That’s the main goal of our club, is to recruit young members and have it be a recurring project that students work on.”