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Three students design and build Formula vehicle

Article published on July 25, 2013 by elnuevodia.com 
Written by Maraliz Cartagena / maraliz.cartagena@gfrmedia.com

Over a year ago, three young Mechanical Engineering students from the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico set themselves to the challenging task of designing and building a Formula vehicle from scratch, as part of the Formula SAE 2013 contest held by the prestigious Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

Jesús Lugo, Ricky Blázquez and Ricardo Martínez were already familiar with automobiles, so they took upon this project as another stepping stone towards their goals. “This was something I’ve always wanted to do, [as part of] my dream to be the next great auto designer in Puerto Rico,” said Martínez.

The vehicle design, structure and functionality were evaluated in Nebraska as part of the SAE contest. It weighed in at 560pounds, and although its velocity is limited to about 75mph for purposes of the contest, it can go faster. “The vehicle is working better than we expected. We ran some tests and all is working fine with its functionality and acceleration,” Lugo pointed out.

For this project, the young students had sponsors that helped them acquire some of the parts, such as the tires and engine. “Even though we’re supposed to build the vehicle from scratch, there are some parts that have to be prefabricated, such as the engine, which is a regular motorcycle gas engine,” Martínez added.

Blázquez, who’s on his third year as an Engineering student and is a professional driver since he was seven years old, was assigned the task of driving. “I know that driving the vehicle is a huge responsibility, but we worked for this and the results are coming through,” he assured.

Formula SAE 2013 brought together the top 80 universities from around the world, including the Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico, which has been part of this contest since 2002 and has managed to be among the top 30.

Even though the contest results for this year haven’t been revealed, it is known that they’re among the top 40 positions overall. The three students say that they feel as if they were in a dream, and that they’re satisfied with the end result of their efforts. They also hope that this will be an inspiration to other students and young people as well.

SPECS Engine: 4-cylinder Honda 600RR (600 cc) Horsepower: 75 hp (limited for contest purposes) Maximum velocity: 75 mph (limited for contest purposes) Transmission: standard, 6 gears Distance between axles (wheelbase): 63 inches Total length: 108 inches Weight: 560 pounds Rims: 10 inches