Cyclone Racing is making strides in SAE Formula competitions


Courtesy of Roger Steinforth

Cyclone Racing competed in Lincoln, Neb., June 17-20 at a SAE Formula competition.

Angelica Lawson

Kevin Harvick may be leading the NASCAR Chase for the Sprint Cup standings, but did he build his entire car from scratch? Cyclone Racing did.

Cyclone Racing is a student run organization that is focused on Formula SAE racing. The 45 horsepower car is designed, manufactured and assembled by its members. The vehicle tops out around 85 mph and can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.

This year, Cyclone Racing participated in two competitions and is looking forward to next year.

The process of getting the car ready for competition takes the entire school year. The team is responsible for all parts of the car. Sponsors are involved to help with manufacturing and funding needs, but a lot of the work is done in-house at the team’s on-campus workshop.

The Formula North competition, in Ontario, Canada, proved to be the better of the two racing events. The team had top-five finishes in each category and finished third overall.

Formula SAE Lincoln did not offer as much success. The team had some setbacks in the endurance portion of the competition — the muffler blew off of the car and ended the hopes of a top-seven finish. The team placed No. 28 overall.

“Hopefully if we can get some good testing done we can improve our scores and place a lot better,” said Roger Steinforth, a senior in mechanical engineering. “I think that is our main focus this year is make sure that the car is done in time so we can [have] a month or so of testing.” 

The plan for next season is continue to improve the designs and improve the scores earned. The team hopes to complete the final product further in advance to allow for more testing.

The current car model has been used for the past two years. The team decided to develop a new design in 2013 and create a new car for competitions.

“I’m definitely proud of what we’ve accomplished. The car has been getting better each year for the past three years, so it’s cool to see that progress over the years,” Steinforth said.

The team plans to focus on some key factors it thinks will provide consistent top finishes. Derek Peters, a recent graduate and team member, said it is about getting recognition and validating time. Better finishes and consistent improvement may lead to more donations and sponsorships.

“Building upon what we have this year, making improvements where it’s needed but not over complicating things, we still want a reliable and efficient car,” Steinforth said.

Cyclone racing is not just for engineers, the team is looking for members from all majors to aid in the design of the car, business side of the project development, web design and videographers. The team is attempting to grow and branch out from being thought of as just an engineering project.

“Hopefully [we] become a team that can be in the top 10, which I think that we are really close to that it’s just a little bit more work with the team,” Peters said.