Posted January 28, 2016

Engineering students build race car

For the third consecutive year, a Temple Made race car will be on display at the Philadelphia Auto Show.

A Temple engineering students welds a portion of a race car.
Betsy Manning
Aaron Snyder, Class of 2018 and vice president of Temple Formula Racing, welds the body of a race car he is helping to build in the College of Engineering.

High-end automakers Bentley, Porsche and Rolls-Royce all have one thing in common: They’ll be featured alongside a Temple-built car at the 2016 Philadelphia Auto Show. This is the third consecutive year that a Temple Formula Racing project will be showcased at the annual event, which drew more than 250,000 visitors in 2015.

Temple Formula Racing is a group of engineering students who come together to design and construct a single-seat race car that complies with standards established by SAE International, a global association for engineers in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries. In addition to exhibiting in Philadelphia, the group will travel with its car to Lincoln, Neb., in June to compete with roughly 100 other college engineering teams at the Formula SAE Lincoln.

Jonathan Petrina, Class of 2017, a mechanical engineering major and president of Temple Formula Racing, has always been interested in cars, building and creating. “For most members [of Temple Formula Racing], tinkering and building things is a lifelong obsession,” he said.

The team’s passion fuels its work, which is often demanding. Petrina said it’s possible to create a car from scratch in one year, but doing so—while maintaining a full course load and social commitments—requires serious time management. “We walk a fine line between maintaining grades, sleeping and building a car,” he said.

Petrina and his teammates feel fortunate to attend a university that supports their automotive interests. “Thanks to the amazing resources at our disposal, we can take a simple vision or idea, model it, optimize and refine it, and ultimately manufacture it, all without leaving the engineering building,” he said.

Of course, the team has to have the knowledge and ability to take an idea and make it a reality. Petrina credits the classroom experience at Temple with the team’s hands-on success.

“We combine the theory-based knowledge gained in the classroom with the practical knowledge gained from the shop,” he said. “The two go hand-in-hand and help not only with building a car, but also in understanding theory in the classroom.”

The team’s race car will be on display at the Philadelphia Auto Show, which runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 7 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center.

Watch a video of the team in action.

Related stories:

Engineering to emphasize innovation in curriculum

Students' device helps draw patrons to the Philadelphia Auto Show