Iowa State University
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News Service

News Service:

Annette Hacker, manager,
(515) 294-3720

Office: (515) 294-4777

05-24-05

Contacts:

Andy Eis, May graduate in mechanical engineering, (515) 231-8862

Greg Luecke, mechanical engineering, (515) 294-5916

Mike Krapfl, News Service, (515) 294-4917

Ethanol-fueled car races to Iowa State's best finish in global competition

AMES, Iowa -- Iowa State University's racer goes 0 to 60 in under four seconds. It tops out at 110 mph. And the little blue and white formula car cracked the top 20 at the 2005 Formula SAE races May 18-22 at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich.

Unofficial race results from the competition - sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers - have Iowa State 18th in a field of 140 racers.

In Iowa State's eight years at the competition, its previous best was 22nd in 2003.

The competition requires students to design, build and race cars powered by engines no bigger than 600 cubic centimeters. The cars are judged on presentations about costs, design, manufacturing and marketing. Then teams take their cars through acceleration and handling tests. Then the cars are timed on a fast lap around a 1.2-kilometer course and 22 laps around a 1-kilometer course.

Andy Eis, a May graduate in mechanical engineering and the project director for Iowa State's Formula SAE Racing Team, said students raised $70,000 to build and race the car. And he's very proud of the results.

"We built an extremely fast race car," he said.

It's so fast, Eis said the team will take it to a few Sports Car Club of America races this summer and fall, including the Solo National Championships this September in Topeka, Kan.

Greg Luecke, an associate professor of mechanical engineering and the adviser to the racing team, said this year's team did well because of some dedicated students who put in long hours. He also said the team's seniors knew what to expect. And he said last year's switch to an ethanol fuel has helped the team attract sponsors such as ICM, a Kansas-based engineering firm that designs ethanol plants and also sponsors the Ethanol Hemelgarn Racing car of the Indy Racing League.

And what did the students learn?

"This really gives them an opportunity to test engineering skills from one end to the other," Luecke said. "From preliminary designs, analysis and manufacturing, they learn what parts work and what parts don't work."

Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., the University of Western Australia in Perth and the University of Wisconsin-Madison took the top three places in this year's competition.

The Iowa State formula racing team's Web site is at http://sae.stuorg.iastate.edu/formula.

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ISU's SAE formula car

For a print-quality photo contact News Service at 294-3720
Edward Plizga, an Iowa State sophomore in mechanical engineering, races Iowa State's formula car around the track at the Pontiac Superdome during this year's Formula SAE races. The Iowa State car finished 18th in a field of 140 cars from around the world. Photo taken by Iowa State's Formula SAE Racing Team.

Quick look

The Iowa State car raced to its highest finish in the annual competition sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Quote

"We built an extremely fast race car."

Andy Eis