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K-State Today

July 15, 2021

Powercat Motorsports competes at Formula SAE Michigan 2021

Submitted by Crystal Strauss

Powercat Motorsports

K-State's formula race team, Powercat Motorsports, competed in Formula SAE Michigan, placing 15th out of 51 teams, and eighth in skidpad and 10th in acceleration.

Fifty-one teams took part in the three-day event July 7-10. The Formula SAE competition challenges teams of university undergraduate and graduate students to conceive, design, fabricate, develop and compete with small, Formula-style vehicles. It is an engineering education competition that requires performance demonstration of vehicles in a series of events, both off and on the track against the clock. Each segment of the competition gives teams the chance to demonstrate their creativity and engineering skills in comparison to teams from other universities around the world.

Powercat Motorsports is a student organization in the Alan Levin Department of Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering. Kevin Wanklyn, teaching associate professor and undergraduate program director in the department, is the faculty advisor.

"Being part of a group that has built a car during a pandemic is a monumental achievement," Wanklyn said. "I am proud of the team. I congratulate them on being the only Big 12 Formula team at the competition."

Vance Weber, junior in mechanical and nuclear engineering, and Powercat Motorsports incoming president and chassis lead, was proud of the team for competing in both FSAE competitions this year with respectable finishes.

Powercat Motorsports finished 11th out of 37 teams at the Las Vegas competition where individual event highlights included fifth in acceleration, sixth in skidpad and sixth in autocross.

Weber said the competition at Michigan International Speedway was much tougher than the Las Vegas event, adding, "We finished 15th overall out of 51 registered teams. Individual event highlights included eighth in skidpad and 10th in acceleration. The team has now finished the main event, Endurance, in back-to-back years, which is another measure of the progress our team is making."

Future goals for the team are to find even more speed by building a lighter, more agile and more balanced car. Recruiting new team members will be very important as well to help with manufacturing while also sharing and building on knowledge with new members. In-person meetings are expected for the 2021-2022 school year with numerous events, presentations and workshops planned. Those interested in joining the team or needing more information can email Weber at vance5w@k-state.edu

"We want to thank the College of Engineering and the mechanical and nuclear engineering department for support throughout the year," Weber said, "as well as all of our amazing sponsors, supporters and alumni."

Other team officers involved in the competition were Mark Rowland, spring 2021 graduate in computer science, outgoing president; Cameron Korte, spring 2021 graduate in mechanical engineering, outgoing chassis lead; Adam Meng, senior in mechanical engineering, engine design lead; Gage Weber, junior in mechanical engineering, aerodynamics design lead; Devin Wright, fall 2020 graduate in mechanical engineering, outgoing chief engineer; Blaine Thiessen, fall 2020 graduate in mechanical engineering, outgoing engine lead; Jack Mravunac, spring 2021 graduate in computer engineering, outgoing electronic design lead; and Michael Charest, junior in mechanical engineering, drivetrain design lead.

Team members participating from mechanical and nuclear engineering include Payton Lee, sophomore; Wyatt Haug, sophomore; Ibrahim Al Qabani, master's student; Eric Underwood, senior; and member from electrical engineering, Julio Gutierrez, senior.

Team members who graduated in 2020 and did not have the opportunity to compete with the 2021 car were Bailey Martin, electrical engineering; Colton Maxwell, Sam Slater, James Berry and Kyler Blank, all mechanical engineering; and Mickenzie Toler, accounting.