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UNM's Formula SAE program ranked No. 5 in the country, 18th in world

October 31, 2014 - By Kim Delker

The University of New Mexico’s Formula SAE program has been ranked fifth-best in the United States and 18th best in the world, according to a new poll.

The rankings were issued by Formula Student Combustion World Rankings, compiled by Formula Student Germany, which ranked 507 teams from around the globe.

John Russell, director of UNM's Formula SAE program and Halliburton Professor of Mechanical Engineering, said this ranking carries a lot of meaning because it is quantitative — not based on an arbitrary awarding of points. Also, it is a cumulative average, reflecting six different teams.

"The score is based on a weighted average of the last six competitions — the latest ones being weighted more heavily — and the strength of the competition," Russell said. "This ranking is a measure of your team's performance, not just how you did on your last race. Our team fared very well against some big-name schools."

Among the U.S. universities, only Oregon State University, University of Kansas, University of Florida and Texas A&M ranked higher than UNM. UNM's team placed ahead of such teams as Michigan State University, Auburn University, and MIT.

Last year, the LOBOMotorSports team placed seventh-best in the U.S. and 32nd-best in the world in the same rankings.

In an international Formula SAE competition in June 2014 in Lincoln, Neb., the team placed 11th overall out of 80 international entries. Next year's competition will take place June 17-20. Russell said the team of 30 students has already designed next year's car and is in the process of building the vehicle.

The LOBOMotorSports Formula SAE program at UNM started in 1997. It has evolved into three-semester in which students take three courses worth 10 credit hours: Racecar Design and Dynamics, Racecar Build Lab, and Racecar Test Lab. The culmination of the program is an opportunity to compete against the best schools in the world.