The Dartmouth Formula Racing Team returned to Hanover earlier this week with an impressive 18th-place finish in the annual international Formula SAE competition.
The race car is designed and built entirely by Dartmouth and Thayer School students, who handcraft almost everything in the car, including frame, suspension and bodywork.
The competition is held at the Pontiac Silverdome outside of Detroit, and is sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers and the big three automotive companies: Ford Motor Company, General Motors and the DaimlerChrylser Corporation.
This year was the 23rd annual running of the event and saw the largest and most competitive field to date. Over 120 universities brought their race cars from around the world, including Canada, Australia, Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Japan, Korea and Finland.
The competition began last Thursday with three static events: a cost analysis, marketing presentation and design event.
Dartmouth placed especially well in the marketing event, taking 13th overall. Friday marked the opening of the dynamic portion of the competition, with acceleration, skidpad (maximum cornering speed) and autocross. Dave Blindheim '03 and Scott Sadlon '03 drove acceleration and skidpad, consistently placing in the top third of the pack, setting the team up nicely for the exciting 22 km endurance race on Saturday.
Nick Schaut '05 and Ariel Diaz '02 piloted the car to a fantastic 15th-place finish in an event that saw only 33 cars finish from a starting field of over 90 cars. Many cars were forced to stop for overheating problems, wheels falling off, broken suspension or other mechanical problems.
Team captain Eric Schatz, Jordan Descroches, Mandar Pendse, George Gorospe, Eric Fitz and David Fouche joined the team for the competition.
Reliability and driver consistency ultimately led DFR to finish every event and place 18th among impressive competitors. With a strong group of returning members next year, the team looks forward to another competitive year and hopefully a top-five finish.