The right formula to win


Zips Racing team leaders (from left) Regis Stockert (aerodynamics), Madeline Mann (composites), Ryan Kruse (suspension and 2014 captain), Cloyd Reed (brakes), Logan Micham (drivetrain), Chris Bergsneider (electronics), Kevin Musial (engine) and Michan Limbacher (team captain and frame).

Top performers in the nation, The University of Akron's Formula SAE Race Team has tweaked the design of its impressive race car in preparation for world competition in Germany next month. Shaving 80 pounds off the weight of the car and adjusting the "wings" are tweaks intended to help the team capture the top spot internationally.

Just back from a stellar performance at the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Michigan competition in May, UA's Formula SAE Race Team will compete in the July 30-Aug. 4 Formula Student Germany international design competition. (See Zips Racing makes design finals and lands 3rd place overall at international competition.)

SAE Formula team member Michan Limbacher races to first place in the endurance event at Formula SAE Michigan. The Zips car races at speeds near 75 mph.

Team captain Ryan Kruse, a mechanical engineering student from Willoughby Hills, attributes the 350-pound car's weight and its front, rear and underside wings to its success. 

"This year's car was aimed at being lightweight and fuel-efficient," Kruse says. "Also, this is the first year we incorporated aerodynamics with wings in the front and rear and a whole wing under the car. We designed our wings to find a compromise between speed and drag on the car."

Led by faculty adviser Dr. Richard Gross, emeritus professor of mechanical engineering, the Zips racing team is the only team from Northeast Ohio to participate in the German competition, according to Kruse. About 75 student teams from across the world will display their engineering design know-how in motion at the Baden-Württemberg, Germany event, held at the Hockenheimring Motor Racing Circuit.

Michan Limbacher, a recent UA mechanical engineering graduate, will race the car in a series of contests that test its efficiency – from its speed on a soaked track to its fuel economy.

Learn more about the College of Engineering's Student Design Teams.

Media contact: Denise Henry, 330-972-6477 or