The team set out on the road for Michigan International Speedway last Sunday night, 39 hours and 2,400 something miles from Corvallis, Oregon to Brooklyn, Michigan. We’re one of 120 teams here to compete for the overall prize, all of these schools aiming to score 1,000 points throughout the week. GFR has taken first place in 6 of the last 7 years here in Michigan!
Wednesday morning kicked off the full first day of competition, and our goal was to get through tech inspection. But it didn’t go as smoothly as we would’ve liked. Officials told us the roll hoop mounting to the chassis wasn’t strong enough, meaning if the car rolled they didn’t believe the system could support the driver in an accident. Whether we disagree or not doesn’t matter, whatever they say goes, so we pulled out of tech and got to welding a stiffer solution ASAP. We managed to get it done and reassemble the car just in time before 7pm that evening to re-tech the car and get approval to drive. We avoided a major setback getting that done before Thursday.
Thursday was full of what we call the static events; Design, Cost, and Business Presentation. In each of these events, team members have to defend the car’s design and performance in many different ways. We’ve got to prove to the judges that we’ve properly tested and collected data on our car to back up our performance claims. The Business Presentation went almost flawlessly, but as I write this, we just found out we haven’t placed in the top 10 teams of Design. That’ll set us back a bit in the overall points.
We’re now looking ahead to Friday and Saturday for the dynamic events. Skidpad, Acceleration, and Autocross will be completed Friday while the main event, Endurance, is run on Saturday. We’re pretty confident in the speed of the car and the points we can score on track, it’s just a matter of optimizing the strategy and getting the most out of the car.
We even had a guest in the paddock today too. General Motors brought Tony Stewart by the track today to see the Formula SAE event firsthand, and the organizers made sure he came by our pit to check it out. We definitely enjoyed talking racecar and joking around with him for the better part of the hour.
I’m looking forward to these next couple days of competition as we try to continue our success in Michigan. I’m liking our chances as of now, but we’ve got to hope the weather stays predictable and plays to our favor. The track was shut down early due to thunderstorm warnings this evening…
Be looking for the next blog so I can keep you all posted on the result! Don’t think I’ve forgotten about Indy, I’ll be keeping a close eye on the action from the GP of Indianapolis this weekend before they get testing for the 500!