Ferris Formula SAE team hits the speedway

pictureBIG RAPIDS – Students from Ferris State University are hitting the track in Brooklyn at the Michigan International Speedway today (May 16) and tomorrow to experience their own version of Speed Racer during the Formula SAE Event.

Started in 1981, Formula SAE is an educational competition that challenges university undergraduate and graduate engineering students to design, build and compete in scaled-down, Formula-style autocross race cars. The cars are complete with a four-stroke piston engine that has a displacement not exceeding 610 cc per cycle.

“I love racing and this is the ultimate competition in college…there’s no better gage than this,” said Brad Costa of Providence, R.I., who recently earned his Bachelor of Science from Ferris in Automotive Engineering Technology. “When looking at colleges, I was looking for this type of experience.”

Costa feels no student can beat the hands-on experience they would get from participating in an event such as Formula SAE – in which a team of students are using creativity, ingenuity and teamwork to build a race car from the ground up.

“I have a passion for motor sports,” Costa added, saying, “With Formula SAE I am working with a solid crew of buddies and we’re showing true school spirit…we’re proud to represent Ferris State University and show everyone we can compete in a world-class event.”

Agreeing, Team Captain Erik Olsen of Traverse City, Mich., is quick to note, “We’re not just a bunch of grease monkeys.”

In fact, team membership is open to anyone on campus, he said. Most recently, the Ferris Formula SAE team has been collaborating with the College of Business looking to partner with students who have strong business and marketing backgrounds. The team also seeks the input and expertise of students with design and manufacturing backgrounds.

“Branching out to a wider range of people makes the team more well-rounded and better prepares the team for competition,” Olsen said.

Participation as a member of the Ferris Formula SAE team also provides solid networking opportunities, said Kevin Gregory of Rodney, Mich., who recently earned his Bachelor of Science from Ferris in Mechanical Engineering Technology.

“It’s amazing to talk to other teams, and it’s a cultural experience while you’re there because teams come from all around the world,” he said, adding he even ran into Michigan State University’s team at the Auto Show in Detroit recently and was able to “talk shop.”

The team is advised by Chuck Drake, professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Bruce Gregory, professor of Manufacturing Engineering Technology.


16 May, 2008