UBC Okanagan students build Formula race car for California competition

UBC Okanagan students build Formula race car for California competition

Engineering students Scott Ghomeshi and Chris Lambert through the metal frame of the UBCO Motorsports race car they and classmates are building.

UBC Okanagan engineering students are raising funds to travel to California in June with a Formula-style race car they have designed and constructed for the Formula SAE® international student design competition.

Fourth-year Engineering student Scott Ghomeshi first discovered the competition during a trip to the UBC campus in Vancouver where, as a first-year student, he saw a very cool-looking car that was in the midst of being built for the contest.

“I told myself I wanted to build something like that,” says Ghomeshi. “And I kept it in the back of my mind until about January of last year, when I decided to recruit some people and enter us in to the event. We wrote up a proposal, and with the support of the School of Engineering and its faculty, UBCO Motorsports was formed.”

Already more than a year in the making, UBCO Motorsports consists of more than 20 students from Engineering as well as the Faculty of Management. The students have been the driving force behind every phase of the project – from the design and construction of the race car to the fundraising and marketing required to cover the expenses involved.

“It’s been really exciting,” says Ghomeshi. “We had practically no resources when we began and relied heavily on local industry to help us out. We wanted to design our car as we would have if we had access to unlimited funds. The budget has forced us to make some changes, however there are some things that aren’t going to get compromised. It may be our first time in the competition, but we are in it to win.”

And although the community, UBC Okanagan School of Engineering and its faculty have all stepped up in a big way for the students, many of them have purchased tools and supplies using their own money.

“We need to raise an additional $20,000 to $25,000 to finish our car and compete in California,” says Ghomeshi. “There are different levels of sponsorship for anyone who is interested in helping us out.”

And just like they do in the big leagues, sponsors have the opportunity to get their name and logo painted on the race car, which features a turbocharged Yamaha Genesis 80FI 500cc engine, Fox gas racing shocks and magnesium wheels.

“This project has helped me view things in a whole different light,” says Ghomeshi. “It has connected classroom work to practical application. We’re getting our hands dirty. You’re not just sitting at your desks, taking notes. We have made a design, worked out its calculations, and are seeing something come to life.”

The Formula SAE competition takes place in Fontana, California, from June 17 to 20. A series of events throughout the competition will test the cars for endurance, acceleration, and evaluate each team’s marketing and presentation.

Anyone interested in supporting this project can call Scott Ghomeshi at 250-870-3449. To learn more about the Formula SAE® competition visit http://students.sae.org/competitions/formulaseries/

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