Hello Race Fans!
I had the three typical goals of most people when they came to USC: dive into my intellectual passions, make great friendships, and work on race cars. Okay, okay, maybe the last one isn’t something that everyone has per se, but I certainly did. Growing up, I have always enjoyed math and science class, but loved to get my hands dirty working on cars – or really anything that moved, ticked, or spun.
That’s why I am so glad that I found SCRacing. On our website, engageSC, and pretty much our go to bio is that we are “USC’s team for the FSAE competition – an internationally recognized design competition. Each year, we design, build, and race a formula style car.” Obviously all of that is true, and is a lot about what we do, but it doesn’t answer the Sacha Baron Cohen question “Who is SCRacing?” To best understand the club we need to work backwards from one day – test day.
Test day is when all the hard work and all the effort pays off. We head off campus in a caravan of hatchbacks, sports cars, and, of course, one trailer with the sun barely rising over the mountains. There is a calm but excited energy. We’ll get to the track and spring into action. Every person sets about making sure we can test as soon as possible. The drivers go over the schedule for the day, the leads start preparing for data collection, and everyone is getting the car ready. Unpack the trailer. Pull out the car. Check the systems. Get the tire pressure just right. Set up the track. And we are a go. We start putting laps on the car and everything functions like clock work. When things go wrong, it’s an all hands on deck project to diagnose and fix it. Despite the repetition there is a giddy excitement every time the car roars to life. Then, there is an equally giddy excitement when the car comes back and we pour over the data. Was the set-up change faster or slower, was it as fuel efficient as we expected, are our designs and expectations being validated? We push the car, engineering, and driver to the limit to gain every tenth of a second (where races are won and lost).
Just like that, it’s over. We pack up the trailer and climb into the cars with the sun setting. After getting back to campus we do a quick team meeting and break, but the day is not done. A lot of the team will head out to a restaurant and recant the tales of the battle. It’s days like this that make the team who we are. Both close friends and team. Academic and social. Exciting and worth every tenth of a second.