Endurance Race Driver Matthew Davidson of the Lynx Motorsports team in their Formula SAE car
RUNNING THE RACE: Endurance race driver Matthew Davidson represented his Lynx Motorsports team well. The University of Colorado team completed the 26-lap endurance portion of the Formula SAE competition for 2018; half the competing teams did not.

Corn farmers, students team up for ethanol project

Program engages engineering students to build alternative-fuel speedsters.

Student engineering projects are available for a range of skills. Key groups, including the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineering, foster programs designed to help fine-tune the skills of fledgling engineers. And these programs push students through a range of real-world exercises, too.

COMPETING TEAM: The University of Colorado-Denver has a Formula SAE team called Lynx Motorsports, and it competed at the SAE International event in Lincoln, Neb., recently. Here’s the 2018 team. Back row: Justin Herrmann (left), Anthony Aragon, Michael Dematrescu-Vulcan, Matthew Koehler, Robert Wiley, Michael Tussing, Matthew Davidson, Riley Abel, Slade Mills and Andrew Blanchard. Front row: Dakota Sorensen (left), Paige Garbett, Walter Gilliland and Matthew Ten Eyck. Joe Hamvas is in the car.

That’s what happened recently for the University of Colorado-Denver’s Lynx Motorsports race team. Students from the College of Mechanical Engineering developed the team car, which included everything from engine to brakes, and from timing to fuel injection. More than a dozen students were engaged over several months to build the car and get it ready to race.

Some of the student team members even attended a special mechanics event featuring guest speaker Andy Randolph, technical director, ECR Engines. A renowned combustion engine expert, Randolph works with Chevrolet engines for a range of key motorsports events, including the Xfinity series for NASCAR.

And on to competition
The Colorado’s team’s effort culminated at the annual competition among other college teams that was held at the SAE International event, called Formula SAE Lincoln, in Lincoln, Neb., in June. Teams received points for the overall cost of their car, a business presentation they delivered, the car’s design and their performance in several dynamic events. This included a 75-meter drag acceleration, an autocross event and an endurance race. The bulk of the points the team could earn came from the endurance race, which is a 26-lap event.

In a press statement covering the event, CU team member Matthew Ten Eyck noted that his team was competition-ready, and he was proud that the team’s car passed the rigorous technical inspection given by SAE officials. “And, our car successfully completed the endurance race — a race in which half the cars did not finish.”

The car was powered by E85 fuel, the alternative fuel that’s 85% ethanol. Ten Eyck commented that the “best part of using E85 is the fact it is more economical than other high-octane fuels, and readily available at many stations. This helps us, as we can easily fuel the car for testing without having to go to an obscure shop on the other side of town.”

That lower-cost fuel also helped with budget management, which allowed the team to invest its money in parts and instrumentation for the car.

As for the E85 price? The fuel is the high-octane fuel desired by many racing teams, and Ten Eyck noted that the fuel allows for a cost savings over 100-plus octane unleaded fuel. That 100-plus octane unleaded fuel cost about $5 more per gallon than E85.

Source: Colorado Corn


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