Skip redundant pieces
KU Home  :  KU News

KU News Release


University Relations

p (785) 864-3256
f (785) 864-3339
June 9, 2005
Contact: Jill Hummels, School of Engineering, (785) 864-2934.

KU engineering students break into top 15 at international race-car competition

LAWRENCE -- Students in the University of Kansas School of Engineering earned their best finish ever at the 2005 Society of Automotive Engineers Formula Car Challenge.

The Jayhawk Motorsports team, which has placed in the top 25 in five of the past seven years, earned 12th place in this year's competition, May 18 through 22 in Pontiac, Mich. The finish put KU's team ahead of all others from the Big 12 as well as teams from several highly ranked engineering programs.

" These KU students have done a great job," said Robb Sorem, associate dean of engineering and faculty adviser for the team. "The rigor involved in getting to the competition, and in the competition itself, is demanding. They designed a quality machine and then honed their skills to be top contenders. The 2005 Jayhawk Motorsports team and previous KU teams are consistently among the best in the nation."

The KU team of 24 students represents one of two schools in the nation to complete every aspect of the event in the past six Formula SAE competitions.

Chris Zellers, Douglass senior, was team captain. Other team leaders were Blaine Barnard, Leawood senior, engine team leader; Adam Goellner, Olathe senior, drivetrain team leader; Aaron Marney, Topeka senior, suspension team leader; Logan Johnson, Lawrence senior, volunteer leader; and Gregory Vannorsdel, Lawrence senior, chassis team leader.

The Formula SAE competition requires students to design, build and drive a small formula-style race car. Only 140 teams are allowed to register for this international event; however, not all teams are able to complete their vehicle in time for the competition. The student teams begin their yearlong endeavor with a four-cylinder motorcycle engine and a 109-page rule book. The resulting competition cars are a blend of the students' creativity, design and analytical skills, and talent in the workshop.

The 480-pound Jayhawk Motorsports car features a Honda F4i engine, a carbon monocoque frame, a carbon fiber body and a pneumatic shifter. The car is capable of going from zero to 90 miles per hour in six seconds.

At the competition, the student teams and their vehicles are judged in three categories: static inspection and engineering design, solo performance trials and high-performance track endurance. Student teams also must submit highly detailed design information and make multiple technical presentations during the competition. Students must adhere to extensive safety rules and regulations during the design and construction of their vehicle as well as during its operation in the competition.

KU's effort begins anew shortly after the competition ends. Students start work on the design for the next year's car during the summer months. Seniors in the mechanical engineering degree program have the option of working on the team as part of the capstone design series of courses during the coming academic year. Undergraduates who are not seniors in the program often volunteer to be a part of the team and take on additional leadership roles when they reach the senior level.

Formula SAE Jayhawk Motorsports student team members, their hometowns, level, major, parents' names and high schools, if available, with team leadership roles noted are:

From Redfield
Ryan Mills, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Ron and Lisa Gray; Fort Scott High School.

From Douglass
Chris Zellers, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Frances Zellers; Douglass High School; team captain.

From Lawrence
Logan Johnson, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Terry and Suzanne Johnson; homeschooled; volunteer leader.

From Lawrence and Dubuque and Wellman, Iowa
Greg Vannorsdel, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Jerry Vannorsdel, Dubuque, Iowa, and Iska Hendrick, Wellman, Iowa; chassis team leader.MORE

From Leawood
Blaine Barnard, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Dan and Carolyn Barnard; Rockhurst High School, Kansas City, Mo.; engine team leader.

From Lenexa
Stuart Hembree, junior in mechanical engineering, son of Brad and Sonia Hembree; Olathe East High School.
Drew Marting, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Cynthia Marting; Shawnee Mission West High School.

From Olathe
Adam Goellner, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Stephen and Peggy Goellner; Olathe South High School; drivetrain team leader.
Mike Lynn, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Mike and Cheryl Meyers; St. Ignatius College Prep, Chicago, Ill.
Tom Markman, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Richard and Colleen Markman; Olathe South High School.
Nick Roberts, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Steven and Karen Roberts; Olathe North High School.

From Overland Park
Chris Veit, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Albert and Palerma Veit; Shawnee Mission South High School.

From Shawnee
Pat Bramlett, senior in mechanical engineering, son of James and Pamela Bramlett; Shawnee Mission Northwest High School.

From Spring Hill
Garrett Witthar, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Marilyn Witthar; Spring Hill High School.

From Parker
Lawrence Raitinger, junior in civil engineering, son of Lawrence and Lynna Raitinger; Prairie View High School, La Cygne.

From Lindsborg
Erich Ohlde, junior in mechanical engineering, son of Mark and Nacy Ohlde; Smoky Valley High School.

From Seneca
Russell Heinen, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Kent Heinen; Nemaha Valley High School.

From Pratt
Chris Hedden, junior in engineering physics and physics, son of Richard Hedden; Pratt High School.

From Goodland
Matt Hall, junior in mechanical engineering, son of Fred and Sharon Hall; Goodland High School.

From Topeka
Aaron Marney, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Jerry and Kathy Marney; Seaman High School; suspension team leader.

From Colorado Springs
John Igo, senior in mechanical engineering, son of Robert and Jane Igo; Air Academy High School, U.S. Air Force Academy.

From Dubuque and Wellman
Greg Vannorsdel. See Douglas County, Kan.

From Kansas City
Alex Fetterman, junior in mechanical engineering, daughter of Paul and Shery Fetterman; Park Hill Senior High School.
Laurie Luhar, senior in mechanical engineering, daughter of Stephen and Elizabeth Euler; Leavenworth Senior High School.

From Lima
Arturo Benavente, senior in mechanical engineering.


The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus. | (785) 864-3256 | 1314 Jayhawk Blvd., Lawrence, KS 66045