Local college students compete in Las Vegas auto engineering competition

Local News

LAS VEGAS, Nev. (WTWO/WAWV) — Some local college students are testing their skills this week at a Las Vegas, Nev., race course during an automotive engineering event.

Members of Rose-Hulman’s “Grand Prix Engineering Team” are competing in a skills challenge that tests the performance of vehicles that they have crafted. The event, which runs through Saturday, is called the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers Competition.

“We’re looking forward to seeing everything come together and see where we stack up against other quality teams,” team member and mechanical engineering student Ben Christiansen said. “This will be the payoff for all the hard work that we’ve put into developing this car.” 

Before heading to Las Vegas, the team tested their vehicles on Rose-Hulman’s campus. After that test run, they did another at the Terre Haute Regional Airport.

“We’re a bunch of students who really love cars,” team member Owen Campbell said. “This competition allows us to put our engineering skills at work. It’s fun to see something we have built entirely from the ground up, completely from scratch, and having it compete against other teams.” 

Students will be judged by a panel based on the vehicles’ acceleration, braking ability and agility when tilted. Vehicles will compete in various racing events as well as an obstacle course.

The vehicles are designed in a way similar to a formula-style racecar. Students assemble the car’s chassis, drivetrain, engine, braking, steering and more all by themselves.

“This is a smaller-scale version of an Indy car racer, with much less engine horsepower,” Christiansen said. 

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