At the beginning of the school year there was nothing in the Architecture, Mathematics and Engineering building shop. This spring, there will be a brand new race car ready to compete.
A team of about 25 students spend their free time in the new shop of the AME building perfecting their car for annual competitions.
The club started in 2008, according to the team leader Ayrton Kuzela. The club builds a Formula Society of Automative Engineers (SAE) car meant for high performance on streets. The rules are set by SAE, and colleges from around the world compete in several competitions.
The competitions include judging all aspects of the car as if it was to be sold on the market, Kuzela said. Every year the team looks at what was good and bad about the car after the competitions, and team members work to make it better the next year.
Last summer they competed at Lincoln, Nebraska where they received seventh place out of 82 cars. This is a high honor, William Bloxsom, the adviser for the club, said.
He said the South Dakota State University car costs about $7,500 per year to build. Some schools spend $20,000 on a single car per year. The club’s funding comes from sponsorships.
Bloxsom said the club “runs autonomously” and has a good internal structure. The club does everything on their own because Bloxsom is not allowed to help build the car in any way, according to the contest rules.
It isn’t necessary to be mechanically inclined, Bloxsom said. The club is trying to recruit non-automotive people to join since the club includes more than just the mechanics of building a vehicle. Team members need skills that require presenting and understanding the business aspect of the project.
“We don’t care about your major,” Kuzela said. “You just have to be willing to learn and dedicate your time.”
Cory Jaques, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, said they learn a lot about documentation, which allows them to go back and see how they should resolve the problem if there is one. They focus on a couple of key points to improve each year.
“Some of the rules are left wide open,” Jaques said.
This allows the team to add their own creativity as well as learn from other colleges when competing. The SDSU team designs and builds many of their parts.
Kuzela said “seeing the car come together and run for the first time” each year is one of his favorite things about being a part of Wild Hare Racing.
Jaques agreed and added that it is always a relief when the vehicle finally starts.
“They are proud of it and I am proud of them,” Bloxsom said.
Each competition is its own event, but they all contribute to the Wild Hare Racing Club’s overall score at the national Formula SAE competition.
Static:Judges critique the design of the formula car. They look for justifiable improvements to the car from the year before.
Cost Report:Judges look at the cost of each part of the car down to every bolt and washer to even the process through which it is assembled. The goal is to build the cheapest car. Whatever team has the least expensive car gets the most points.
Business Report:The team has to present and “sell” their car to the judges, like shark tank.
Tech:Judges look at if the car fits the “template” which ensures that 95 percent of all men can fit in the cockpit. They also look at if it is safe to drive.
Dynamic:This is separated into four different sections where the car is tested on its performance.
Acceleration: How quickly the car can reach the end of the track
Skid pad:This tests how safe and fast the car can turn as well as how much lateral gravitational force the car can stand without losing traction.
Autocross: The car is raced through a one lap track to get the best time. The team is allowed two drivers who are each allowed two laps. If a cone is hit, time is added.
Endurance:The car races 22 km and fuel economy is judged. After 11 km there is a driver change.