Purdue Formula SAE took 13th place at the 2014 Formula SAE Michigan competition held from May 14-17th at Michigan International Speedway. Despite the Griffin P14 suffering from a broken shift cable, drivers Keith Wittmer and Branden Giannini were able to hang on to a 13th place finish in the Endurance event to help give the team its best finish since 2011.With top 20 finishes in Design, Acceleration, Autocross, and Endurance, the team put together an all around solid result.
With a car that doubled its torsional stiffness over last year, and an aerodynamics package that was ready for competition for the first time since 2011, the team placed 15th in Design judging, just shy of design finals. An increased focus on the Cost and Presentation events led to marked improvement in both categories.
Day 1 of dynamic events got off to a cold start. Despite this, the team managed to stay warm and put together a good performance. Drivers Mike Reising and Max Lupfer both set competitive times in Acceleration and Skidpad, with Lupfer setting the team’s fastest skidpad time despite driving in his first FSAE competition and hitting two cones. The afternoon saw Purdue hovering near the top of the autocross timesheets early on, before dropping to 16th after several schools ran sub-55 second times.
A 16th place finish still meant that Purdue would run in the late group on Day 2 of dynamic events. Early endurance runs were marred by a pair of cars catching fire on track. Luckily, no one was injured. Midafternoon, Purdue lined up for its endurance run. However, early into Keith Wittmer’s stint, the push-pull cable for the gear shifter broke, leaving the car stuck in 1st. Wittmer managed to hang on, and Branden Giannini managed to get the car into second gear following the driver change. Despite the issues, the car managed to finish the event without further mechanical failures.
Overall, it was a successful outing for Purdue FSAE, as the team beat Big Ten rivals Illinois and Ohio State. In addition, the team climbed to 52nd in the Formula Student world rankings. Everyone is now shifting their attention to FSAE Lincoln, where Purdue hopes to perform even better.
To view the full results from the event, please visit: http://students.sae.org/cds/formulaseries/results/
A special thank you to our sponsors, families, and all who helped make FSAE Michigan 2014 a success!