From May 10th to 13th Purdue competed against 119 teams from around the world at Formula SAE Michigan.
Starting with the Static Events on Thursday, Purdue placed 18th in Design, 42nd in Business Presentation, ad 107th in Cost.
From there, the team made a strong effort to overcome a variety of technical challenges to pass Scrutineering. Eventually making it through all technical inspections early Friday morning, the team was able to compete in all dynamic events.
Having placed 26th in Acceleration and 65th in Skidpad, the team readied for the Autocross Event. With eight seconds in penalties from hitting cones, the first Autocross run went from a 50.077 to a 58.077. Unfortunately, this would be the team’s best run, yielding 82nd place in the event. The car’s sprocket failed during the beginning of the second run. After an intense, 30-minute repair, the car made it back in time for one more run, but was again held back by penalties.
Despite the challenges experienced so far, the car had shown strong performance heading into the Endurance Event. This was on full display during the first laps with dropping times and multiple overtakes. Coming to the driver change, the car had developed cooling issues, but was able to maintain a steady pace a few seconds off of its best times. But racing showed its unpredictability one last time. A paint chip in the chassis allowed the starter solenoid to ground, shorting the car’s electrical system. With fire imminent, the crew flipped the master switch and Purdue’s day was over.
Though an improvement over last year, the team is far from satisfied with 2017’s result and has already begun design for the 2018 competition.