UC Bearcat Motorsports races in international competition
The University of Cincinnati’s resident racecar team Bearcat Motorsports unveils a new vehicle this weekend at the Michigan International Speedway.
A team of engineering students is competing in Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Michigan, an international engineering design competition. The competition challenges students to design and build a single-seat racecar, which is judged on design, construction, performance and cost.
“This year’s car is a big innovation over past designs – we kind of re-did the whole thing,” said UC mechanical engineering student and team lead Joe Tucker. “It’s lighter, easier to manufacture and easier to maintain.”
The team combines theory from coursework and practice from cooperative education to build this year’s car. Their efforts reflect UC’s innovation agenda, a platform of the university’s strategic direction, Next Lives Here.
To build the car, the team used technologies such as 3D printing and computer-aided design. Students completely redesigned the frame and suspension system and used lighter materials such as titanium and carbon fiber.
Thirty-three students are using the project to fulfill their capstone requirements, but more than 50 additional underclassmen and graduate students have helped prepare the car for competition. UC professor of practice and Bearcat Motorsports advisor Mike Mains sees the organization as a way to gain valuable experience as students and future professionals.
“Through Bearcat Motorsports, you start hearing the jargon and having a little more motivation and understanding when you take classes later in your curriculum,” said Mains. “It gives students interested in the automotive industry a leg up.”
The team hopes its efforts pay off this weekend, but no matter the results, students will walk away with a satisfying project.
“I will say it’s a lot of hard work,” said Tucker, “but it’s very rewarding to see this car as a model or a thought in your head now driving on the track.”
Featured image at top: The racecar is on display at this year's Mechanical Engineering Technology Expo. Thirty-three senior engineering students used the car for their senior capstone project. Photo/Provided
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