On Hunter Hayes’ first day on Main Campus, he walked into Temple Formula Racing’s shop and was immediately asked to make calls to get car parts.
“I just hit the phones running trying to figure out how we could get some carbon fiber in the shop,” said Hayes, a senior entrepreneurship and innovation management major.
Hayes is the project manager of TFR, a professional student organization in the College of Engineering. The team designs, builds and tests a formula race car annually to compete in the international collegiate racing series, Formula SAE at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan on May 6-9.
This year, TFR wants to complete the competition’s endurance race, Hayes said. They competed in the race in 2017 at FSAE in Lincoln, Nebraska, but have never completed it, neither did they win in Brooklyn in previous years.
Yet, with the team’s membership doubling this year, TFR is now working to improve the car’s electrical system and the drivetrain system, or the part of the car that works in with the engine to move the wheels, Hayes said.
“We’re really sticking with everything last year that the car either had no issues or no failures with,” he added. “We want to understand those systems better because we’re a team that’s really building.”
A new strategy to get parts for this year’s car is to have members post about the car on the team’s social media. They’ve been able to attract 20 new sponsors who have provided $50,000 worth of new parts for their car, Hayes said.
“I came in and I was like, ‘Hey, do you guys need someone to run the Instagram?’” said Chris Berger, a freshman media studies and production major and a new member who runs TFR’s YouTube, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Berger gives sponsored companies shoutouts on TFR’s Instagram, like featuring a clip of Hayes unboxing a shipment of Chassis Tubes — steel tubes used to construct the framework of the car — from sponsor VR3 Engineering, a mechanical engineering company.
The team is primarily comprised of freshman and sophomore students this year and gives students a chance to learn, said Cybil Seneker, the club’s vice president and junior mechanical engineering major.
“A lot of people assume when they come in here that they either have to have extreme knowledge of how to build a car or they have to kind of have a higher level of engineering understanding, but I think this year is a really good representation of how that’s just untrue,” Seneker said.
TFR will be demoing last year’s car on 13th Street between Norris Street and Montgomery Avenue on Feb. 21, during Engineers Week.
Once this year’s car is completed, they’ll start testing it beginning March 1 in the Diamond Street Lot on Diamond Street near 12th before the competition.
The countless hours in the screaming loud TFR shop he’s spent with friends is a highlight of his Temple experience, Hayes said.
“It’s really stepping into a room where you don’t know anybody and gaining friends, building relationships, learning new skills and being dedicated,” he added.