Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall Testing

Always looking to get ahead in driver preparation, we spent some time over the past couple of weeks shaking in Car 51 with potential new drivers. This is very important this year as Powertrain and Driving Team Leader Andy Gryczan is graduating soon and may not be able to pilot a race car during the 2009 Formula SAE series. Thankfully, the turbulent Michigan weather cooperated for us for a few days; allowing many of Car 51's team to obtain some much needed seat time. The team would like to extend a special thanks to Scott Rancor and the MSU Pavilion for allowing us to use one of their large lots for testing. Below are some pictures from the testing sessions.


2009 Chief Engineer Andrew Rogers

Taking lap times

A close encounter with a cone

Flying down the front straight

Discussing driving

Gary 'Doc' Cloud, long-time Faculty Advisor and 2008 Carrol Smith Award winner, looks on

Last run of the day

Friday, September 12, 2008

Fall Recruitment

Fall recruitment meeting posted a large number of attendees coming from a variety of majors within the university. As the team requires persons who are able to wear many different hats while juggling school and personal obligations with long hours on the team; large, well-publicized recruitment sessions are important to attract the right people. We are honest with potential team members during recruitment; telling them that Formula isn't for everyone and that in order to be successful, the will have to work long and hard. Since September recruitment, it is inspiring to see that we have retained many devoted, passionate persons who have and continue to work very hard to bring Car 12 closer to fruition. Here are some pictures from September's recruitment.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008


With the start of Sparticipation; the annual student organization gala at MSU, it is clear that the fall (and therefore classes) are once-again upon us. On Saturday, 8/23, the team trailered Cars 51 and 9 to campus and set up a small display. The cars received lots of attention and we were busy talking nearly the entire time.

Sparty stopped by again, and this time, as we had Car 51 on hand, we snapped a couple more photos of him. It was a fun time for all right up until the wind began blowing like crazy and starting to rain, thereby forcing us to head back to the shop.


Engineering Colloquium

The arrival of students on campus each fall means one thing above all others: Recruitment. We know that recruiting new students to the team each year is absolutely vital to completing all that we set out to do each year and to the continued advancement of our program.

The College of Engineering invited us to have a display at the new Engineering Colloquium, held in the courtyard of the Engineering Building, here on campus. This introductory event for new students was no boring affair - complete with a rock climbing wall, a DJ and our mascot, Sparty.

Chief Engineer Andy Rogers and I attended and managed to coerce Sparty (carefully) into Car 9 for a photograph.


Safety Technology International Anniversary Celebration

On Friday, 8/22, the team split up and performed double-duty with Powertrain Electrical Team Leader Leslie Hodges heading down to one of our sponsors, Safety Technology International, for their anniversary celebration, while Chief Engineer Andy Rogers and I took 2007 Car 9 to the Engineering Colloquium for a recruitment event.

Woodward Dream Cruise

The second week of August was a busy one for the team. The morning after returning from the CAR MBS, we headed down to Royal Oak for the crème de la crème of car shows: the Woodward Dream Cruise. Held every August on a multi-mile stretch of the infamous Woodward Avenue, the Dream Cruise attracts hundreds of thousands of cars and millions of enthusiasts, collectors and curious passersby. The SAE Foundation invited the team to bring Car 51 to their display in Eaton Performance Park, located right in the middle of the mayhem at 13 mile and Woodward.

Though it was a typical Michigan humidity-enhanced summer day, team members had a great time talking with cruisers, staff and guests of Eaton Corporation. The Dream Cruise is very much a family-affair and we had the pleasure of talking with the old, the middle and the future of hot rodding in America; including many potential race car drivers.

Thank you to all of the folks at the SAE Foundation for sharing your day with us. A special thanks to Rick Rachner, Ginny Whipple and Nancy Lewis at SAE for all of the helpful direction and making arrangements for our spot at the Performance Park.

Go Green. Go White. Go Fast,


CAR Management Briefing Seminars

The first event of August is one that we had been looking forward to for quite some time: the Automotive Management Briefing Seminars, hosted by the Center for Automotive Research and held in one of the most beautiful areas of Michigan: Traverse City. We first began attending the MBS in 2007, and were delighted when CAR invited us back again for the 2008 event.

For those not familiar, the Management Briefing Seminars are a week-long series of conferences and talks where industry executives and insiders gather to discuss issues facing the automotive industry. Held every August at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, the conferences are a fantastic opportunity for networking and getting the inside scoop on what's going on with everything automotive. Even better, the up north atmosphere that Traverse City provides adds a relaxing breath from the hustle and bustle of the motor city.

We spent the week talking with executives and staff from several of our sponsors, our sanctioning body, and many others associated with the auto world. Additionally, at Wednesday's Industry dinner, Steve Hechtman of the UM Solar Car Team and I hopped on stage and gave a fun and humorous mockery of the MSU-UM rivalry.

Last year, I left TC feeling very impressed by a fun and exciting event. I didn't think that anything could top it. I was wrong; MBS 2008 was even better. A big thank you to David Cole, Kathy Watson, Debbie Schilz and all of the staff and attendees of this past conference for making our stay so enjoyable.


Make-A-Wish Heroes Hurrah

At the end of July, the team was invited to bring Car 51 to the concluding celebration of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan's Heroes Hurrah bicycle race at the Chelsea Fairgrounds in Chelsea, Michigan. This was the first opportunity for many of the MAW staff to see Car 51 and the beautiful Make-A-Wish photograph emblazoned on her in-person, as a result of the team's partnership with MAW in our 2008 Race for a Cause campaign.

We had a great time at the Heroes Hurrah, spending the afternoon talking with hundreds of Make-A-Wish supporters and their families as they came cruising across the finish line. As is very typical with our putting cars on display, we encouraged many kids to sit in Car 51 and be a race car driver for a few minutes. It is always gratifying to see their faces light up as they grab the wheel.

Thanks again to Susan Lerch, Kedrin Gall and all of the fantastic employees of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Michigan for welcoming the team so warmly and allowing us to be a part of your organization this past racing season. It is an honor to be a part of a cause that is so worthwhile.