Start Your Engines: TigerRacing SAE Team Places Top 30 in Michigan Race

Team posed with tiger racing car.BATON ROUGE – At the end of the spring semester, the LSU TigerRacing SAE team competed in the 2018 Formula SAE Michigan at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Mich. The team placed 28th out of 118 teams and broke three team records.

TigerRacing President Alyssa Hermesch, a mechanical engineering senior and robotics minor from Walker, La., reflected on the competition and spoke about what is ahead for the TigerRacing team, which next competes at the Formula SAE Lincoln in Nebraska on June 20-23.

What is your position with TigerRacing and how long have you been involved with the group?

AH:  I am currently the president of TigerRacing, with three years of experience with the group. I joined my sophomore year and helped with the manufacture of the intake manifold and also designed a flow bench test rig. During my second year on the team, I was elected treasurer and designed the shifting system of the car. This past year, I was elected president and continued working on the shifting system. At our Michigan competition, I was re-elected for my second term as president and will be designing the chassis of the car this year.

How many people are on the TigerRacing team?

AH:  We have about 25 active team members. There is no limit or minimum time commitment, so we always welcome new faces! There are many things to do on the team, including design, manufacture, assembly and administrative tasks.

Tell us about the car you brought to Michigan.

AH:  The 2018 car is the team's best performing car so far. We ended up placing 28th out of 118 teams world-wide, breaking three previous team records. These included placing fifth in acceleration, seventh in business presentation, and 20th in autocross. We made some big changes this year to design a highly competitive car. Some of these changes included an aerodynamic package, a switch to smaller and lighter wheels, and an engine change. With these changes, we gained almost 10 horsepower and lost 50 pounds compared to last year's car.

Back view of tiger racing car.

How long did it take to build?

AH:  We have a yearlong process for making a new car. In the summer, after our Lincoln competition, we begin design for the next car. We then manufacture components in the fall, assemble the car in early spring and do testing until our first competition in Michigan. Between Michigan and Lincoln, we continue testing.

Tell us about the Formula SAE Michigan competition.

AH: Michigan's competition is the largest FSAE competition in the U.S. There are normally 130 international teams that attend. The competition itself consists of technical inspections, static events and dynamic events. Technical inspections are the first events and are where many teams struggle the most. There is a very large rulebook published every year that must be followed and checked before driving the car at competition and many teams get held up in not meeting all rule requirements. Our team has always found pride in the fact that we typically complete all inspections with no issues. The static events include a business presentation (mock "Shark Tank"-style investment proposal for mass producing the car), cost report (a complete bill of materials and machine/labor costs also for the purposes of mass production), and the design presentation (a presentation to a board of industry professionals defending your designs and manufacturing techniques). The dynamic events include an acceleration run (drag race), skid pad (figure 8-style cone course), autocross (cone course to test handling and cornering capabilities), and endurance (an extended autocross course of 22 kilometers to test the durability and reliability of the car). 

How did the team raise the funds to attend?

AH: We operate on sponsorships that are obtained from team connections and networking events. The team goes to sponsors with proposals and budget plans. We like to present sponsors with the idea that by investing in us, they are helping to not only build a car, but also to build successful future engineers. We pride ourselves in personal development and leadership skills that are above most skills learned only in the classroom.

Tell us about the competition coming up in Lincoln?

AH: The Lincoln competition is normally smaller than Michigan (80 teams, mostly from the U.S). Last year, we placed 12th and we have a goal of reaching the top 10 this year! You can stay up to date on our results by following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter by searching @formulalsu.


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Contact: Libby Haydel

Communications Specialist