If you are attending The North American International Auto Show this year, you might come across a group called Warrior Racing.
Warrior Racing is a student organization at Wayne State made up of car enthusiasts and students who want to apply what they learned in the classroom to the real world. Each year, the team designs manufactures, and markets an open-wheel formula-style race car that can reach speeds over 100 mph. Last year, the team placed tenth overall in Lincoln, Nebraska at an event that showcases many top North American teams. For the second year in a row, Warrior Racing was the highest finishing team from Michigan at the Lincoln event.
This year, Warrior Racing’s car creation is a tribute to Sgt. Collin Rose, a WSU police officer who was killed in the line of duty. In addition to Warrior Racing’s car dedicated to Rose, the team has a poster in honor of Rose at their Detroit auto show booth.
“They’re the guys [police officers] that are out there keeping us safe at night,” said Zachary Fish, a junior mechanical engineering major and member of the Warrior Racing business and electrical teams.
“The auto show helps us a lot because we can meet with our sponsors,” said Jake Sippl, a junior majoring in supply chain management and member of Warrior Racing’s business team. “Many [organizations] in the auto industry sponsor us and this helps us physically connect with them.”
Being involved in the auto show also gives Warrior Racing the opportunity to look at cars and see how the auto industry is fixing problems that the team may be running into.
“You get to talk to engineers there and see how they approach the problem,” said Nitin Kumar, a mechanical engineer graduate student and Warrior Racing team member.
Warrior Racing is currently in the process of planning and building their car for next year’s racing competitions. The name of their car is RW12 because it is the 12th car they have built as a WSU student organization. One way that they hope to improve the new model is by making it lighter and more aerodynamic. The team is attempting to make the frame out of carbon tubes instead of steel.
“We can lose 15 to 20 pounds that way,” said Eric Hopton, a WSU sophomore mechanical engineer major and member of the Warrior Racing chassis team. “As an organization, we’re not at the level where we can do a monocoque – which is a vehicle made completely out of carbon fiber – but I think this is a good step in that direction.”
Warrior Racing is also trying new techniques to improve performance on their future car, such as putting wings on the body to assist the car in sticking to the ground.
“With wings, you are able to take corners at a faster rate and to keep more speed,” Sippl said.
Some Warrior Racing members said they will work around the clock – placing sleeping bags around the auto shop – in preparation for competitions.
With 110 days until the Michigan International Speedway competition, the team has high aspirations.
“My personal goal is to get first place,” Fish said. “We have the willpower to do it.”
The Warrior Racing booth is located in Hall-E, section UA13 at the North American International Auto Show held in the Cobo Center.