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Members of Iowa State University's Formula SAE Team -- left to right, Woody Witherow, Jason Lipes, Adam Witthauer and Kyle Anderson -- work to prepare the car they designed and built for an annual competition at the Ford Motor Company's Michigan Proving Grounds. Photo by Iowa State Formula SAE Team.
Tony Sartor, Iowa State University Formula SAE Team, (563) 508-7342, email@example.com
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Iowa State formula race car cracks top 20 for third year in a row
AMES, Iowa -- There wasn't even enough time for an official team portrait with the race car.
But all the scrambling by Iowa State University's Formula SAE Team paid off with an unofficial 18th-place finish at the annual Formula SAE competition last week. The international contest features 130 student-designed and student-built mini Formula 1-style race cars. The annual contest is sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers.
"I thought it was just amazing that we even got a car finished," said Tony Sartor, a May graduate from Bettendorf who studied logistics and supply chain management and was the director of Iowa State's formula race team.
The scramble to finish a race car started last fall when some of the team's leaders were away from campus, Sartor said. That cost the team some design and build time. And those delays carried all the way to some all-nighters leading up to the team's departure for the annual contest at the Ford Motor Company's Michigan Proving Grounds.
There was some more scrambling for the crew of 13 students who traveled to Michigan: final assembly had to be completed before the car could pass technical inspection, sponsor decals from the Ethanol Promotion and Information Council had to be applied and then there were oil leaks in the differential and on the valve cover seal that had to be fixed.
But the car could compete. Sartor said the team earned top-20 finishes in acceleration, autocross (a quick and curvy half-mile course that can be raced at average speeds of 25-30 mph) and endurance and fuel economy (a 13.7 mile race that features top speeds of 65 mph).
The race team from the University of Wisconsin-Madison won the overall title.
But Sartor said it's good to stay in the top 20. Two years ago, the Iowa State team finished 18th and last year the team finished a best-ever seventh.
"The competition is getting so fierce," Sartor said. "Every team is getting a lot better. And a lot fewer teams are failing."
It didn't always look good for the Iowa State car -- team members nicknamed it "Smokey" for a reason. And so Sartor called the team's third top-20 in a row an "amazing achievement."
Iowa State University's Formula SAE Team is becoming a fixture in the top-20 of an international competition that has students designing, building and racing mini Formula 1-style race cars. Over the past three years, Iowa State's team has finished 18th, seventh and now 18th.
"The competition is getting so fierce. Every team is getting a lot better. And a lot fewer teams are failing."
Tony Sartor, a May graduate from Bettendorf who studied logistics and supply chain management and was the director of Iowa State's formula race team
The Formula SAE team