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

Dartmouth Alumni Formula Racing Gives an Old Car New Life

By Anna Fiorentino
November 2015 • CoolStuff

When the 2014 Dartmouth Formula Racing (DFR) team captain, Eric Din '14 Th'16, asked former DFR captain Ariel Diaz '02 Th'04 to take his team's old car off his hands to reduce inventory, Diaz was more than happy to do so.

"I had been toying around with the idea of helping refurbish an old DFR car if it ever needed a new home," says Diaz, now CEO of Boundless. "Best of all, it’s the car I captained so I know it inside and out."

The car that the 2004 team named "Roxy" is parked at Michael Beilstein's '05 parents' home outside Hartford, CT, for now. This summer, Diaz and Beilstein began working on the car with MEM students Matt Hodgson Th'06, Cliff Orvedal '05 Th'07, Matt Guernsey '05 Th'07, and Colin Ulen Th'05, as well as Nick Schaut '05 Th'06 and Elizabeth Hunneman '05 Th'06. The group has named themselves Dartmouth Alumni Formula Racing (DAFR). "We have a great cross section of first-hand experience with the car, from the engine to electronics to suspension," says Diaz.

DAFR
(l to r) Ariel Diaz '02 Th'04, Matt Hodgson Th'06, and Matt Guernsey '05 Th'07 with Roxy at Michael Beilstein's '05 parents' home in Connecticut.

Diaz developed the car's first independent rear suspension for his BE project at Thayer before becoming captain as an MEM in 2004. "I decided to stick around and captain the team my MEM year, which was also a blast—and a ton of work," he says.

In 2011, Diaz used the skills he acquired at Thayer to start and now run Boundless, an online textbook company that was acquired earlier this year.

"DFR had a massive impact on my leadership abilities, from overseeing a 40-person student group to designing and building a racecar," says Diaz. "I was able to enter the workforce and make an impact because I understood the deep interplay between theory, practice, and management."

Now, ten years later, Diaz and the rest of DAFR plan to start racing Roxy in parking lots and eventually enter her in Sports Car Club of America events featuring Formula SAE cars.

"Restoring it is fun, and driving it will be amazing," says Diaz. That was his goal of joining DFR in the first place.

Tags: alumni, formula hybrid, leadership, M.E.M., projects, race cars

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