Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Sooners race toward new competition

Spencer Popp/The Daily

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Fresh off a summer of competition in California and Germany, the Sooner Racing team is gearing up for another year atop the national rankings of the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers.

The team builds a new car to race in the summer competitions throughout each school year, team captain Thomas Ingram said.

Ingram, mechanical engineering junior, said the car is like a miniature race car.

“We are limited to motorcycle engines, so we have to design everything around the engine and size it all proportionally,” he said.

Ingram said the team is in the design phase, with plans to finish research and other necessary tests by November.

The car will be completed to make test runs in the Lloyd Noble Center parking lot by April, he said.

“We design all the vehicle dynamics, engine packaging, a full [computer aided design] model and get all of our components of what we want done designed,” Ingram said. “We do all the research at the beginning of fall semester.”

New ideas
Plans for this year’s car are still being discussed, but Ingram said changes are coming.

“We have lots of crazy ideas that we are going to be implementing this year that are somewhat radical,” he said. “It’s never been done by any other team.

“We’re just going show up to competition and roll out this car that nobody’s ever seen.”

When asked about plans for this year’s car, former team captain and design engineer David Collins said some exciting things are on the horizon.

“Four hundred-fifty schools worldwide have never done what we are going to do this year with the car,” Collins said. “It’s a completely new concept.”

Multiple skills involved
The competition isn’t limited to racing, Ingram said.

“The second aspect to it is the static events, design, cost and business presentation,” he said. “We have industry leaders come out and judge our car.”

Team adviser Zahed Sidiqque, aeronautics and mechanical engineering associate professor, said there is a lot of effort that goes in to producing a successful racing team.

“I think it’s a great program,” Siddique said. “Students learn from it, and since they run it, it’s almost like running a company. It’s good practice for the future.”

For more information about Sooner Racing, e-mail Siddique at zsiddique@ou.edu.

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