Hope College Formula Racing earned 14th place overall out of the 90 teams that participated in the Formula SAE competition held at Michigan International Speedway on Wednesday-Saturday, May 18-21.

A total of 90 college and university teams from throughout the United States as well as Canada, Colombia and Mexico participated.  Hope’s finish was its second highest in its five appearances at the speedway event since 2010.

The Formula SAE competition is not just a race.  Instead, the teams are evaluated in a series of static and dynamic events, including presentation, design, cost analysis, acceleration, cornering ability, maneuverability and handling, fuel economy and endurance.

Hope was among only 68 teams to pass the initial technical inspection and qualify for the five dynamic events that followed.  With some of the remaining teams’ cars experiencing mechanical issues at different points, at most 61 participated in any one of them.  Hope was in all five, and was among only 37 to complete the culminating endurance competition without the vehicle breaking down.

The concept behind Formula SAE is that a fictional manufacturing company has contracted a design team to develop a small Formula-style race car.  The prototype car is to be evaluated for its potential as a production item.  Each student team designs, builds and tests a prototype based on a series of rules whose purpose is to provide standards while promoting clever problem solving.

The international Formula SAE organization provides a variety of design parameters within which the participants must work, but beyond that the teams make their own decisions.  Some of the parts are pre-fabricated, like the 600cc Honda motorcycle engine that provides the power.  Others — like the frame — are developed by the group, starting with initial concept, and then moving through design and theoretical testing using the computer and ultimately to fabrication and construction.

Hope competed with more than 100 teams from around the world at MIS during its debut appearance in 2010, and returned to MIS in 2016, 2019 and 2021. Hope placed 76th out of 102 teams in 2010, winning the William C. Mitchell Rookie Award in 2010 for having achieved the highest overall score among first time teams. Hope finished 77th out of 115 teams in 2016; 30th out of 109 teams in 2019, and 9th out of 45 teams in 2021.  The team was prepared to compete in 2020, but the competition was canceled.

In addition, Hope finished 11th in the international Formula SAE Lincoln 2018 competition in Nebraska out of 80 teams.  Also in 2018, Hope finished first out of 10 Great Lakes FSAE teams at the 2018 Lawrence Tech Grand Prix, and had the 49th fastest time out of 1,375 entries in the SCCA Solo Nationals autocross held in Lincoln, Nebraska.

(Photo by junior Rylee Snellenberger of the Hope College Formula Racing team)