The Hornet racing team left this morning for Lincoln, Neb., to compete in Formula SAE international competition.
The team, which built the race car, is determined to top last year’s 34th-place performance. “Had we not sprung a leak and finished the Endurance event at the same pace we had recorded in the preceding events, we would have advanced 10 places,” team member Marcos Navarro says.
This year’s car is 40 pounds lighter and the experienced squad has had two additional weeks to put the car through its paces and work out design kinks. That helps explains why the team is bullish on its chances this summer despite what Navarro calls a “very tight” budget.
Their mode of transportation to the competition consists of one 15-passenger van, one midsize car and a full-cab truck that pulls the trailer. The car and the van are rented; the truck and trailer belong to one of the 20 team members. The trailer is long enough to haul two race cars and the squad’s luggage; one car is for spare parts.
Team member Stephanie Palmer secured a faculty sponsor who will match up to $3,000 provided the squad finds another sponsor. The team raised nearly $1,100 at the new car’s celebratory unveiling Saturday, June 1, at Santa Clara Hall. But team members would gratefully accept further financial support. (To help, visit www.gofundme.com/1l2hxc.) Navarro says a small percentage of funds have been left to help kick-start next year’s race car project.
The team returns to Sacramento on Monday, June 24.
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– Alan Miller