Tech students revamp ‘super car’

Students enrolled in the Transportation Technology program at Fort High are putting the final “fuel efficient” touches to their super mileage vehicle in preparation for competition May 12 in Brainerd, Mn.
The competition, sponsored by the Minnesota Technical Education Authority, attracts SMV entries from schools across the U.S., including North Dakota, Minnesota, and Washington.
This will be Fort High’s third year entering the competition. Their first entry in 1996 placed third out of 45 entries in fuel efficiency, with last year’s model garnering a “Best Engineered” award.
“It got poorer mileage than the first car,” teacher Gord Witherspoon said Friday afternoon.
This year’s entry is a revamped version of last year’s model. And Witherspoon is hoping the huge effort put in by the students will pay off in the winner’s circle.
“We took the car from last year and rebuilt it. There were some major flaws [to correct],” he remarked. “All of us had a real brainstorming session and [subsequently] improved the frame, drive system, and steering.
“We painted it–made it look and work a lot better,” he added.
The competition will be held at the Brainerd raceway, with each SMV entry checked prior to the start for compliance with standards.
“[The judges] are sticklers on safety,” stressed Witherspoon.
Cars must use a 3.5 h.p. Briggs and Stratton engine, and be driven by a student at a maximum speed of 35 mph (56 km/h).
Each vehicle is fitted at the track with a 250 ml container of fuel and must complete two laps of the track (9.5 km) in no more than 15 minutes.
Vehicles that go over the time limit are docked points, eliminating the idea that going slow will use less fuel.
“I am looking forward to [the competition] and I think we will get good results,” Witherspoon said, adding a test drive is planned here in a couple of weeks.