Motorsport Engineering Students Racing Toward June Competition: Formula Sae Car to be Unveiled Saturday

On Saturday, Jan. 14, students and faculty in Colorado State’s motorsport engineering program will display the latest Formula SAE car they’ve built with some 30,000 student hours over the past five years.

The celebration, which is open to the public, begins at 4 p.m. at the Motorsport Engineering campus at 3317 W. Vine Drive.

It’s the first time the car has been displayed publicly.

"This represents a massive effort on the part of our students over multiple years," said Patrick Fitzhorn, a professor of motorsport engineering. "So it’s appropriate given the work ethic and support of the university and external sponsors to show the results of our labor."

Colorado State boasts the only motorsport engineering program in the country that is based on European race engineering schools. Professors in the program include Fitzhorn, Don Radford and Rudy Stanglmaier – all of whom are in the mechanical engineering department, headed by Allan Kirkpatrick. The department is in the College of Engineering, run by Interim Dean Sandra Woods.

This summer, motorsport students will get one shot to compete with the car in the world’s largest collegiate motorsport competition sponsored by the 100-year-old Society of Automotive Engineers. Each year, Formula SAE involves 240 engineering schools competing in seven events on five continents.

Colorado State will attend the competition at the California Speedway in Fontana, Calif., June 14-17.

About 70 students from mechanical engineering and other disciplines worked on the car at various times over the past five years, including Jennie Gober, a senior psychology student, who tinkers with the car in her spare time.

"I do have some mechanical inclination – it’s kind of my hobby," said Gober, the student marketing director on the project. "This is a really cool car."

As part of the motorsport engineering program, students must participate in all aspects of car racing, including obtaining sponsors and marketing their car, Fitzhorn said.

At the master’s level, students learn the foundations of vehicle dynamics, engines technology, aerodynamics, advanced materials and instrumentation and specialize in studies related to vehicle design or detailed activities of team engineer. They focus on advanced design and analysis at the doctoral level.