December 05, 2023
Faster than fast and classic Mizzou—Mizzou Racing secured third place with their combustion car in Kansas at the first Formula Wheat event, hosted by the Kansas State Formula SAE team Powercat Motorsports, earlier this fall.
“The competition went very well for the team overall,” said Gillian Dorman, Mizzou Racing Team Manager. “It was very hot, but we were able to cool the car down during our endurance race driver change and we successfully completed all our driving events.”
Formula Wheat condensed a regular four-day SAE competition into a two-day weekend. Mizzou Racing competed against 10 teams from the Midwest in four events, acceleration, skidpad, autocross and endurance. The team’s performance earned them third place overall.
“Kansas was a smaller competition, but it was fully structured like the competitions we do in the summer,” said Dorman, a senior studying psychology with a minor in engineering. “It was great practice and exposure for some of our new members that haven’t been to competition before or haven’t been to a competition in new roles with new responsibilities.”
The following weekend, the teams took both the combustion car, #18, and Mizzou Electric Racing’s car, #237, to participate in the Texas Autocross Weekend. This annual event isn’t structured like a typical FSAE competition—with no placing or trophies—but gives the cars an opportunity to participate in driving events on historic tracks and students the opportunity to learn how to operate in a competition like setting.
“The electric car wasn’t ready for the Kansas competition. It’s a complex piece of machinery. It’s taken our team a long time, and it’s the first one we’ve ever created on campus. There’s nobody we can go to, no alumni we can reach out to with questions, because nobody has ever done it before in our alumni network. After the Formula Wheat competition, we were able to get the car running. We did a few test drives in the evenings and packed up both cars to go to Texas.”
Both cars had suspension issues during the Texas Autocross Weekend, but the team was able to fix the electric car in the UT-Arlington FSAE team’s shop overnight. Prior to this weekend, the electric car had never driven at competition, and Dorman says the moment it finally happened was surreal.
“The electric car did a full autocross course, which is something we don’t have a space big enough to do on campus, so it was really awesome to see that car finally drive,” she said. “It’s something we and our alumni have worked toward for the past year, so being able to see that dream become a reality was very bittersweet. And it was incredibly fast, and incredibly cool.”
Once back at Mizzou, the teams looked over both cars and both are once again fully operational, driving in the Homecoming Parade on October 21.
The next step for Mizzou Racing and Mizzou Electric Racing is a heavy design and manufacturing phase for the 2024 competition cars, #55 for Mizzou Racing and #216 for Mizzou Electric Racing. Then, in the new year, the team hopes to be manufacturing a third car to be test-driven starting in March ahead of their annual May competition at Michigan International Speedway.
“It’s going to be a big year,” Dorman said. “As I’m entering my senior year, I’m now thinking about looking back in 20 years and being able to say, ‘wow, I built race cars in college,’ which is definitely cool. It’s made me who I am today, and the team is full of my best friends. And we’re always looking for new members, so if anyone on campus is interested, feel free to stop by our shop in Lafferre Hall.”
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