VCU’s Formula-style race car heads to Nebraska for international competition

Formula race car being driven by a VCU student on a test track

Chad Brown, a rising sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering, test drives VCU’s newest Formula-style race car on a practice course in advance of SAE International’s Formula SAE collegiate competition in Lincoln, Nebraska.

VCU’s newest Formula-style race car is ready for action. Dubbed VCU02, it will go against 79 other built-from-scratch racers at SAE International’s 2019 Formula SAE collegiate competition in Lincoln, Nebraska. This year’s competition brings together teams from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil and India. The cars take to the track June 21 and 22.

In the world of auto racing, Formula cars have a special mystique. They are the low, sleek, open-cockpit cars made famous in international events such as the Grand Prix races. The FSAE collegiate competition is the event of the year for Formula SAE at VCU, a multidisciplinary team of students that designs, builds and tests the performance of a real Formula-style vehicle and competes with other teams. VCU02 is the culmination of two years of intense effort. It also embodies lessons the team learned from its first car, VCU01.

“This is a much more streamlined vehicle, so it’s smaller, lighter, easier to drive — and faster,” said Ben Loren, outgoing president of Formula SAE at VCU. He worked as a mechanic for three years before deciding to study engineering at VCU. Loren earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in May and will relocate to Seattle this summer to start as a production engineer with Boeing.

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