Designing and Building a Race Car – What Does It Take?

Just what goes into the design of a race car? For the many people who have had the pleasure of driving or watching a sports car or professional race car, its quite apparent that some talented minds were involved in the engineering of such a masterpiece.

Nick Roberts is one of those talented minds and is currently a graduate engineering student in his sixth year as a member of the Formula SAE Team at the University of Kansas. These are the people who will be designing the race cars and sports cars of tomorrow. Unlike many of the other schools, the University of Kansas will actually be building 2 cars: a traditional combustion car, and a fully electric SAE car. While the combustion engine car will be competing in the traditional Formula SAE tournament, the electric car competes in the Formula Hybrid.

Coastal Enterprises donated Precision Board Plus HDU, which was used to make plugs for a variety of parts.

Here is a picture of the electric car, the JMS12e, with arrows indicating parts that were made from Precision Board Plus HDU plugs:

The combustion car, the JMS12c, also with arrows indicating parts that were made using Precision Board Plus HDU plugs:

One of the first things I asked Nick was how does the electric SAE car compare with the combustion car? Surprisingly, he responded that the lap times are as fast or faster. Nick claims this is because the rules allow for such a high power electric motor. Weighing in at only 450 lbs., the electric car is the fastest car they have ever built.

The University of Kansas SAE team, known as the “Jayhawks,” typically has anywhere from 20-30 student engineers that contribute to the design and build of the car.¬†They are known for being skilled at composites work, and used Precision Board Plus HDU for 95% of all the composite tooling.

All of this practice building and designing formula SAE cars is a fast track towards entry-level positions in the automotive design field by promoting hands on skill in all aspects of design, testing, marketing, management and financing.

A video of the electric car in action:

Also check out a video of Nick Roberts winning first place in the combustion car.

You can see more info on their Facebook page.