Student group builds and races open-wheel formula race car


Cassopolis junior Dillon Richey test drives the Chippewa Racing Team car on Sept. 15 in parking lot 22.

Members of the Chippewa Racing Team spend an entire school year building, testing and racing a formula car to compete with teams all over the world.

Founded in 2014, the team is part of a bigger organization called the Society of Automotive Engineers. SAE is a student design organization that provides hands on experience and focuses on building leadership skills. Members are to work together for a series of months to build, test and race a formula racing car. 

A formula car is an open-wheel, open-cockpit single seat racing car with the engine located behind the driver. 

Upon entering their fifth year of competing, the CRT is looking forward to another successful year of building and racing.

“That feeling, after 10 long months of building a car and it working and performing better than you expected, makes all of the long hours worth it,” Tyler Henning, CRT drivetrain lead, said. 

During the summer months, the CRT competes in international competitions with over 500 other teams. In previous years, the team has competed in the Michigan International Speedway and the Pittsburgh International Speedway. In 2019, the team plans to attend the previous competitions as well as the Toronto Shootout. 

Once racing season is over, the team begins to discuss and brainstorm ideas for the next car. Based on previous successes and downfalls, each member is able to design a better working vehicle to present to the team. By the end of the fall semester, one design is decided on and manufacturing begins.

CRT isn’t just for engineering majors. In addition to the building aspect, there is also a business side. Throughout the year, members are able to meet and converse with big manufacturing companies like Ford, General Motors, and Tesla. 

“No matter what degree it is you are trying to pursue, if you are looking for mobility and hands on experience, SAE is the club for you,” Henning said. 

For the past four years, graduating seniors were able to leave Central Michigan University with a job already lined up for them due to SAE experience and networking.

All students who are interested in joining are encouraged to reach out to the team and attend shop days. 

For more information you can contact CRT by emailing or by following the team on twitter @ChippewaRacing or on Facebook @chippewaFSAE.

Saint John's junior Tyler Henning and Cassopolis junior Dillon Richey prepare the Chippewa Racing Team car before a test drive on September 15 in parking lot 22.