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A Letter

1 May

Dear My Maker,

I woke up this morning feeling empty and scared.  There was no one sitting on my round legs, scraping at my bones, pulling my veins out and soldering them back together or poking at my brains wondering why my many LED eyes are solid red instead of blinking green.  No one is turning me on or off – frustrating me and themselves – don’t people know what they want these days!?! There are no sweet, sweet, profane lullabies singing in my ears! I don’t smell the stench of unwashed armpits or the lingering coffee breath exacerbated by days sans toothbrush.

“Where am I?” I thought. I am captive in a dark room untouched and unwanted – resting but, lonely.  “Come back to me,” I shout. But, the only sign of hearing is from the reverberating orange straps that hold me captive to the trailer. 

I am proud of you.  Shoot, I am proud of me!  My shrink tells me it is sometimes necessary and good for a child to lift up his birthers – even when he is an infant and they, the birthers, have barely more life experience than Taylor Swift in 1999.

So hear this makers of me: You should be showered by now, your teeth should be brushed, the sleepy crap should be out of your eyes, and you should have eaten at least three servings of vegetables and some fruit.  Now stand up and be proud, you made me and I am pretty freaking awesome!!  Yes, I am not perfect, my head is not completely symmetrical, I am a little chubbier than is healthy, I seem to get sick randomly (something about gremlins in my BMS), my doctors keep challenging where you put my fuses and if my organs are isolated correctly, but you made me!  You made me from nothing!

McMaster makers (FH 2015 runner-up), I have a crush on your baby, beautiful, just beautiful.  Shoot, I have a crush on you, the makers, but I am not sure I can have so many lovers.  What about the offspring of your friends: Waterloo? I know he farted some flame during the autocross event, but, Waterloo makers, you happy go-lucky winners of Formula Hybrid 2015, you got that oil under control and made it to endurance, kudos and congrats. Baby Tuft’s mama and papa (FH 2015 EV WINNER) I didn’t even know you had a kid until I saw him crawl to a win during the endurance race, you certainly proved the most overused adage in the book. Next year, I hope to finally meet the progeny of University of Victoria (FH2015 2nd runner-up), it seems like you made history by genetically engineering your child! I guess I like Canada, I am just happy they left the square wheels home. 

Georgia Tech makers (FH 2015 EV 2nd runner-up), what gentlepeople, keep er going, I will see you next year. Carnegie Mellon makers (FH 2015 EV runner-up), is your baby a genius? His brain seemed to stretch from toe to nose! Even some genius babies need a push at the beginning. Keep pushing and, you know, maybe make those last connections, I think they are crucial.  University of Vermont makers (you are pretty hip), look, some babies are born with more muscle than they need and still walk late, it is OK, he’ll learn to use it, at least he has a big brain. Power and smarts, impressive combo! IIT makers (FH 2015 EV runner-up), I thought your baby was an alien and then I found the missing parts all wrapped up in four compact bundles of engineered bliss, let them spin, let them spin. Next time stay a while and let your child have his moment!

To my friends not mentioned by name, tell your makers you love them, they need your love.  Tell them you are proud of them, tell them you need their attention as soon as tomorrow.  

To the makers of me and my friends, raise your sugar-free Redbull with honor and a hint of hubris and repeat the words a good friend once used to change my life: “Grab life by the cajones, come back tomorrow and let’s try this again.” 

See you next year! You are awesome!

Yours truly,


Wednesday Wrap Up

29 Apr

As Wednesday comes to a close, only one team made it out to race today. Waterloo Hybrid was the only team to pass all of the inspections and hit the autocross track.


Waterloo Hybrid on the tilt test

After struggling to lock all four wheels in the brake test, Waterloo finally pulled it off, despite problems with their gearbox. Running against the clock, the rushed the car over to the autocross track amid cheers and applause. Their first lap was plagued by issues with their gearbox, but they were able to complete a second lap, putting down a legal time that should give them first place in the event.

Unfortunately no other teams have been completely cleared to run, but there are a number of teams that are incredible close. The design finals are currently wrapping up, and tomorrow we are looking forward to a number of teams getting out for an endurance run.

IIT at the Design Finals

IIT at the Design Finals

McMaster University at the design finals

McMaster University at the design finals

University of Michigan making their way to the design event

University of Michigan making their way to the design event

Formula Hybrid Teams Prepare for Dynamic Events

29 Apr

It’s Wednesday of comp, the day we’ve all been waiting for. Teams have been working around the clock to address the issues they saw in their tech inspections, and the paddock has been a hub of activity.


Mechanical Inspector Michael Royce checks the driver fit for McMaster University

Unfortunately, not many teams are ready to run, but many are very close, and we can expect to see an exciting afternoon. More than half the teams are through pre-inspection, with University of Waterloo being the only team to completely pass electrical inspection. Only two teams have made it through mechanical inspection at this point, one being University of Waterloo, who has also passed the tilt test and the noise test.


Teams work their way through mechanical inspection

On the design and presentation side of things, teams have been excelling and wowing judges. Three teams finished with perfect scores in the Project Management presentation event; University of Victoria in the Hybrid Division, RPI in the Hybrid In-Progress division, and Tufts in the electric division. Nice work teams! The design finalists are McMaster and University of Victoria in the hybrid division, and Illinois Inst. of Tech. and Carnegie Mellon in the electric division. The design finals will occur this afternoon at 4:30 PM.

This afternoon we should see some more teams getting out for tilt and brake tests, and some autocross and acceleration events.

Stay tuned for more updates as the day progresses!

Formula Hybrid Media

29 Apr

Check out all of the #Formulahybrid15 tags across social media! Every school and team has been producing great content, pictures, updates, etc. Check here for the latest info from the track!

FH 2015 Tuesday Recap

28 Apr

As the sun starts to set on the speedway, the teams are still furiously working toward the track. Only 1 team has passed mechanical: University of Waterloo, and no teams have fully passed electrical. Many teams are close and should be ready to start the dynamic test events tomorrow.


A member of Dartmouth Formula Racing gets down and dirty to access the bottom of their car

Tomorrow we’ll see events like the spray test, tilt test, egress, braking, and our first race events: the autocross and acceleration runs. Tomorrow afternoon are the Design Finals, Group Photo, and the competition barbecue.


Students will be working hard to get their cars through tech; let’s all hope they do so we can have an exciting day tomorrow!

Team Profile: UVM Alternative Energy Racing Organization

28 Apr

UVM, a top contender in the electric division from both the 2013 and 2014 competitions, has come to Formula Hybrid 2015 sporting a brand new car. After scoring second place in the electric division for two years running, UVM AERO decided to go back to a hybrid vehicle. This year they are competing in the Hybrid In-Progress category, as they wanted to take advantage of the two-year development cycle for their vehicle.


Senior EE Andrew Giroux says the electric cars were too easy, and emphasized that the team enjoys taking on a challenge with their designs. And what an ambitious project they have chosen. They have two front wheel drive motors, and one rear wheel motor. The car features a student designed BMS, a 24S10P LiPO battery pack comprised of 240 5Ah pouch cells. They estimate at peak their motors could put out over 150 horsepower, which they will need as their car is expected to weigh well over 1000 lbs.


In typical UVM AERO fashion, they have taken on an extremely difficult project and have gone great lengths to put their car together for the race– a complete overhaul from 2014, and yet they are still one of the first teams to make it to mechanical inspection. Their ultimate goal with the car is to add a KTM SXF 250 engine, but as Hybrid In-Progress this year they will be competing with just their electric drive system.

Team Profile: McMaster Formula Hybrid

28 Apr

McMaster Formula Hybrid arrived at FH 2014 for competition with a beautifully designed and engineered car, but sadly one that never drove at comp because they were waiting for manufacturer specific parts that didn’t arrive until the competition. However, their team’s organization and discipline was impressive enough to earn them the Skip Barber Teamwork Award.

And they have come back this year with their eyes on the prize. Throughout the 2014-2015 development year their vehicle, MFH1415, has been completely re-engineered. The only major component remaining from the 2014 competition is their carbon fiber monocoque chassis (which did receive a beautiful new paint job).


Major technological shifts include the addition of two hub-mounted front electric motors, with planetary gearing, a full aero kit, and entirely new electrical and control systems.


McMaster students work on their accumulator pack to prepare it for electrical tech.

The new system uses the two front motors for boost and regen, with both a capacitor bank and a small battery pack as their accumulator. Their engine is a 2012 KTM 250, which puts out 35 HP and the two motors are each rated at 15 kW, and the electrical system boasts five student designed controllers, custom software, and a complex control system to maximize the effective power out and balance the front wheel electric motors with the rear wheel drive engine.


The new McMaster Formula Hybrid Aero kit has character

The team isn’t through tech inspections yet, but they are confident in their new car and we’re all excited to see it get out there.


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