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Dartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of EngineeringDartmouth Engineer - The Magazine of Thayer School of Engineering

Competition: Dartmouth Wins at Formula Hybrid

Dartmouth Formula Racing during the tilt test at the Formula Hybrid Competition. Photograph by Kathryn Lapierre.

After competing for twelve years in the Formula Hybrid Competition, Dartmouth Formula Racing (DFR) has taken home the gold—well, more accurately, the green First Place Hybrid Category trophy. The team’s hard work and preparation paid off at competition, which was held April 30–May 3 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, N.H., and drew 23 teams from across the United States and from Canada, India, and Turkey.

The DFR team passed all levels of inspection and completed dynamic events in record time; they were also the only team to finish all 44 laps of the endurance event. “It’s sort of the behemoth event,” says DFR team member Sean Sengupta ’17 Th’18. “And we actually completed it with a decent portion of energy remaining. It’s a testament to our team’s engineering.”

In the past, the DFR team hit various roadblocks to success. Some years their DFR car failed safety inspections. Last year the car managed to complete only half an endurance lap. “As part of the redesign this year they reevaluated the energy needs for the car and how to distribute the power between the engine and the motor,” says Raina White, Thayer lab instructor and DFR team advisor.

Much of the hardest work was completed as part of an ENGS 89/90 BE capstone project. A team of six Dartmouth engineers, including three DFR members, reconfigured the car’s battery packs and worked on the accumulator system and the enclosure for the system. DFR also put project management skills to use to successfully drive the timeline of work.

“We focused on when certain components needed to be delivered,” says Sengupta. “We were able to meet all the deadlines, which allowed us to test really early.” Noting that the car was on the road in late February, he says, “We put 50 to 60 kilometers on the car before competition, which allowed us to work out a lot of kinks.”

With the car weighing 672 pounds—almost 200 pounds lighter than last year—DFR drivers Leina McDermott ’19 and Allie Stasior ’20 finished 75-meter acceleration runs in impressive times ranging from 6.5 to 5.1 seconds. “We were able to create a true race car that we’re all really proud of,” says Sengupta.

In addition to their success in endurance and acceleration, DFR took first place in the hybrid category for engineering design and autocross. The team received also received Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Industrial Design Award and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ (IEEE) Engineering the Future Award.

Georgia Tech secured a first-place finish in the electric category with high scores in project management, design, and endurance.

Formula Hybrid was founded by Thayer students and Thayer research engineer Doug Fraser in 2006. Thayer continues to organize and host the competition, which is endorsed by the IEEE and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). It remains the most difficult of SAE students competitions.

Read more about Formula Hybrid.

—Kathryn Lapierre

Categories: The Great Hall, Competition

Tags: faculty, international, projects, race cars, students

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