Engineering students to race hybrid cars at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon

Last modified: 4/27/2014 12:04:00 AM
At the intersection of mechanical and electrical engineering and the cutting edge of automotive technology are the hybrid cars slated to race this week at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

For the eighth consecutive year, Dartmouth College’s Thayer School of Engineering will hold its Formula Hybrid Competition, which brings college engineering students from around the world to Loudon for the four-day event. Racing in high-performance hybrid and electric race cars they built, engineering students will participate in time trials and races that are free for the public to attend.

“I guess you could say innovation is mandated,” said Dartmouth’s Doulgas Fraser, the event’s director. “There are no off-the-shelf solutions, so the kids really have to think it up themselves.”

Students from the United States will be joined by teams from Canada, India and Turkey. While the checkered flag would be a bonus, the students use the opportunity to work with others from across the engineering discipline.

“One of the challenges is trying to get the electrical engineering students to work with the mechanical engineering students. When you look at a hybrid, you blend the two,” Fraser said.

With this type of talent, on-site job offers from major automakers can be common, Fraser said.

“We have Ford, GM, Chrysler. They are all recruiting like crazy. We have a number of kids get job offers right there on the track,” he said.

During Tuesday’s Formula Hybrid School Day, students from Penacook, Tilton, Belmont, Claremont and other local communities will have a chance to have up-close access to the cars.

“The Formula Hybrid competition is a great opportunity for young people who are interested in future careers in the automotive industry,” said Kristen Lestock, director of communications at the speedway. “I have witnessed top automotive manufacturers on the property checking out the talent in the garages and offering jobs to students on the spot.”

A total of 24 schools will participate in the four-day competition. While the cars race at about 50 mph, they can reach speeds of up to 90 mph. “They could go a lot faster if we let them,” Fraser said.

For more information about the races, visit nhms.com.



(Iain WIlson can be reached at 369-3313 or iwilson@cmonitor.com.)




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