Updated as of 9:15 a.m. Sept. 12 to include video.
Eight Elon University engineering students spend time after classes each day and throughout the weekend in the Innovation Hall lab. What they’re building: a race car.
Elon’s chapter of the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers, or Phoenix Racing, is a student-run engineering team building an electric Formula 1 race car. With the completed car, the club intends to compete against other universities in the collegiate electric division of FSAE.
Senior and team principal Nick Muller started the FSAE team in his freshman year. In the past three years, he said he’s been inspired by the work the team has done.
“Every day I tell myself, ‘I'm going to be learning something that's just part of who I am,’” Muller said. “The amount that I've learned through this team is immense in the past four years. I'm learning skills and leadership management.”
As a senior, Muller said it feels good to see it all come together.
“I've always been a builder,” Muller said. “It always excited me to take on such a big project, and I feel like it's just something that I've always done throughout my entire life.”
Junior Jack O’Donnell is also a team lead and said he hopes more students, even those outside of the engineering department, decide to join the team.
“It's actually a lot of fun,” O’Donnell said.
According to Muller, making the race car will cost about 55 thousand dollars. The team is raising money through business sponsorships and donations from the community.
Elon sophomore Gracyn Speter says he feels he’s getting ahead in this industry by working on the team.
“Just hanging out with these guys every day in the shop, just learning things that a sophomore engineer normally would not learn until they're in industry,” Speter said. “Being able to pick up these skills along the way, it's an awesome experience.”
Currently, the team estimates they are about a quarter of the way through the project. Muller said the team is funded primarily through sponsors and donations, but they are still missing important components and are trying to fundraise to be able to afford those parts.
Muller said the main goal is to finish the car by May so the team can compete in a national competition.
“We want students joining and another thing is we obviously need a lot of help monetarily, or parts or whatever we need to get this thing actually rolling in on the ground,” Muller said.
“We'll put in the manpower, we're gonna make it happen. We just need a little bit of help, a little bit of a boost to get it to be there.”