SOUTHFIELD—Lawrence Technological University’s Blue Devil Motorsports teams will once again hold their annual fall semester Grand Prix of time trials for student-designed Formula-style race cars.
Established in 2009, LTU’s 13th Grand Prix will be held Saturday, Sept. 9 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the LTU parking lots along Northwestern Highway in Southfield (Parking Lot D at www.ltu.edu/map). The winner will receive a trophy for the fastest time trial.
The event has been held every year since 2009, except when it took the fall of 2020 and 2021 off due to the pandemic.
The event is free and open to the public for spectators. Competing collegiate teams are charged $250 to participate in the event. Adding fun to the Grand Prix: a DJ will be on site from 12 noon to 6 p.m., and the food trucks Abu Kunafa and Chubby Panda will be on site from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Along with Lawrence Tech, teams from Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the University of Toledo, Wayne State University, and Western Michigan University, as well as other out-of-state colleges, are scheduled to attend. LTU alumni, parents and members of the public will also be at the event.
LTU has a long history in Formula SAE, a student design and racing competition organized by SAE International (previously known as the Society of Automotive Engineers) and first held in 1979. The event is held in the spring at several sites around the country; LTU hosted the national event three times in the 1980s. Today, the finals for most Midwestern teams are held in June at Michigan International Speedway. This past spring, the 2023 LTU team finished 29th in the nation out of 162 teams for acceleration.
In Formula SAE, students conceive, design, fabricate, and compete in half-scale open-wheel race cars. There are restrictions on the car frame and engine so that the knowledge, creativity and imagination of the students are challenged. The cars are built with a team effort over a period of about nine months. Judging criteria include engineering design; cost; performance on a skid pad; a braking test; an endurance test; and a team presentation. The end result is a great experience for young engineers to work on a meaningful project as a dedicated team. For more information on sponsoring Blue Devil Motorsports teams, visit https://www.ltu.edu/motorsports/.
SAE also sponsors other competitions—Baja SAE, the original SAE competition, which began with off-road vehicles in 1976; Formula Electric, teams that design and build all-electric racing cars; and SAE Aero Design, in which students design, build and fly an unmanned cargo aircraft. Still another competition, SAE Supermileage, for a maximum-MPG gasoline-powered car, was dropped after 2021 as the auto industry turned its attention to electric vehicles.
LTU’s Formula SAE team has 13 student members, all seniors, plus several graduate advisors. The team’s faculty advisor is Giscard Kfoury, associate professor. Hamid Vejdani, assistant professor, is the faculty advisor for the 17-member Formula Electric team. The faculty advisor to the overall Blue Devil Motorsports programs is Kingman Yee, associate professor and program director of LTU’s Master of Science in Automotive Engineering.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is one of only 13 private, technological, doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. The Wall Street Journal ranks LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, theory and practice education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.