The 2019 MRacing Formula Car was unveiled for the first time Wednesday at Ford’s Product Development Center Showroom.
The reveal of the MR-19 celebrated the culmination of months of work by the UM team, which includes nearly 30 engineering students – a mixture of sophomores, juniors and seniors. It also marked the exciting start of the collegiate Formula SAE race season, which begins next month at the Michigan International Speedway.
“These students had a full load of classes, and during peak times the team spent nearly 40 hours a week working on the car,” said George Halow, Ford executive champion, UM student vehicle teams. “It’s a real commitment and a labor of love that gets them to this point.”
Ford supports the students in the development and testing of the car by providing funding, molds for vehicle composites, test facilities and general consulting.
According to Halow, Ford’s involvement with the MRacing program brings great value to the company, especially with regard to recruiting. He said Ford currently employs more than 25 UM engineering alumni from previous MRacing teams alone.
“The reason we recruit so heavily from these teams is because they’re very strong academically. They’re car racing enthusiasts. And they’ve had a great experimental experience learning how to work as a team, manage budgets and timelines and resolve conflict – all of the kinds of things that they have to do when they actually come to Ford and become engineers here,” he said. “So they’re basically industry-ready when they graduate.”
Alex Marshalek, MRacing captain and a junior engineering student at UM, said the team used last year’s experience to make a number of improvements to this year’s race car.
“We switched from a two-piece monocoque to a one-piece and also extended it farther back along the vehicle to increase stiffness and reduce weight,” he said. “We overhauled the aerodynamics package. We added an electronic throttle control to increase drivability, and we added a continuously-collecting exhaust, which reduces turbo lag.”
Ford Guest speakers at the MR-19 unveiling included Marcy Klevorn, executive vice president and president, Mobility; Ken Washington, vice president, Research and Advanced Engineering and Chief Technology Officer; and Todd Willing, design director.