Engineering motorsports: Fast track to success

Posted: June 15, 2013
The Ohio State University’s student-led EcoCAR2 and Buckeye Current motor sports teams showed their engineering prowess and earned third place honors in two prestigious competitions this spring. Next, the Venturi Buckeye Bullet team aims to break the 400 mph barrier when they return to Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats later this summer. 

Competing in motorsports is more than an adrenaline rush for engineering students, it provides a unique opportunity to solve real engineering challenges in an environment like no other. 


The Ohio State EcoCAR2 team

EcoCar 2 team places third in national competition

Ohio State’s EcoCAR2 team earned third place overall, $21,000 in award money and the most prizes of any competing university in year two of the advanced vehicle competition, EcoCAR 2: Plugging In to the Future. 

This is the second year of the three-year competition managed by Argonne National Laboratory and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, General Motors and 30 other government and industry leaders. The event offers students the opportunity to gain real-world automotive engineering experience, while striving to improve the environmental impact and energy efficiency of an already highly-efficient vehicle, the 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.

This is Ohio State’s 19th year in participating in advanced vehicle technology competitions and the fifth consecutive year of placing in the top five. Next year, the team aims to bring home the winning title during the third and final year of competition. Learn more

Follow Ohio State’s EcoCAR2 team at and on Twitter.

Buckeye Current electric motorcycle team impresses in Isle of Man TT Zero race debut



The Buckeye Current electric motorcycle racing team and rider Rob Barber after their third place finish at the Isle of Man
The Ohio State University College of Engineering’s Buckeye Current electric motorcycle team—along with UK native and world-renowned rider Rob “The Bullet” Barber—finished third in their first-ever appearance at the world-famous Isle of Man Tourist Trophy (TT) races. The only U.S. collegiate team to compete in the TT Zero, Buckeye Current steered to a podium finish with an average speed of 90.4 mph, besting both professional and collegiate competitors.

“This is a fantastic accomplishment for a first-time, student-run team and places the Buckeye Current as the number one university team in electric motorcycle races,” says Giorgio Rizzoni, mechanical engineering professor and director of the Center for Automotive Research where the team is based. 

Following the race, the team also earned the Motul Award for Technical Performance.

The team's next competition is August 18 at the TTXGP in Indianapolis, Ind. Learn more about the team's impressive debut.

Follow Buckeye Current’s journey online and on Twitter.

Venturi Buckeye Bullet: The quest to be the fastest electric-powered vehicle 

The Venturi Buckeye Bullet team aims to obliterate their own international 307.6 mph record and surpass the 400 mph barrier—something few gasoline-powered engines and zero electric vehicles have ever done—when they return to Utah's Bonneville Salt Flats later this summer.

The team will debut their vehicle, the Venturi Buckeye Bullet 3— the newest generation of the student-designed and built alternative fuel race car—during Speed Week, August 10-16 and will return in September to try for the international record. It is driven by two custom made electric motors designed and developed by Venturi, and powered by A123 prismatic iron nanophosphate lithium-ion batteries.

The team has set numerous speed records during the past decade. In 2004, the first Bullet, which ran on nickel metal hydride batteries, set a national land speed record with an average time of 315 mph. Buckeye Bullet 2, the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell powered land speed research vehicle set its highest international record of 303 mph in 2009. The lithium ion battery powered Venturi Buckeye Bullet 2.5 set an international record of 308 mph in 2010.

The team’s supersized goal has already garnered media attention with articles in Scientific American and ASMEE, among others.

Follow the Venturi Buckeye Bullet team online and on Twitter.
Category: Students