2009 Formula Hybrid: The Results

May 13, 2009

CONTACT: Catharine Lamm
603/646-3943

Last week, at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, 22 teams (out of 30 registered) gathered to compete in the 3rd annual Formula Hybrid International Competition. Founded and run by Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth, the competition features high-performance hybrid race cars built by teams of undergraduate and graduate engineering students. This year the event weathered both rain and shine and was, as Dartmouth's team faculty advisor Professor John Collier put it, "A great educational event with enough cars for real head-to-head competition."

Texas A&M
The Texas A&M car was "blisteringly fast."

Day one of the competition consisted of the technical inspections as well as the design and marketing presentation events. Day two featured the acceleration runs, the autocross competition, and the design finals. And day three held the endurance event followed by the awards ceremony.

Doug Fraser, Research Engineer and Director of the Formula Hybrid Project, was pleased with the results: "Thirteen teams made it to the endurance event and six of them finished. That's significant considering last year we had 12 teams total and only two of those completed endurance." Collier added, "The cars, which last year would likely have been stopped by the effect of the rain on the electronics, all continued to compete."

Joseph Helble, Dean and Professor of Engineering at Dartmouth was pleased as well, "This competition has advanced dramatically each year. Teams are pushing the envelope on engineering design and that's what it's all about."

Wynne Washburn, Deputy Director of the Formula Hybrid Project, was impressed with the enthusiasm of so many students as they tackled an array of automotive engineering challenges. "Thirty schools took on the project this year," she said, "That amounts to roughly 400 student engineers gaining an intense learning experience that gets them on their way to becoming the next generation of industry leaders and entrepreneurs."

Colorado State U.
Colorado borrowed tires from their faculty advisor's car.

Teams in attendance

2009 Formula Hybrid Photo Gallery

2009 winners

Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo
Cal Poly-SLO had uniquely slanted wheels

Individual events & awards

Brigham Young U.
"We're a hydraulic hybrid so we were disqualified. We're hoping next year they'll allow different classes of hybrids." -Brigham Young U.

Quotes of note

"This year has the essence of a real competition." -SAE judge

"We're here to help, we're here for education. So when the teams have trouble, they can reach out to us for help." -Mechanical inspector

"We've been working the teams pretty hard. We want them all to pass, but safety first, that's our priority." -Electrical inspector

"When we shipped the car we had a problem with the shaft. We tried to make a new shaft, but we don't have the instruments..." -MADI State Tech U., Russia (Their third year in the competition, but the first year they could afford the $6000 to ship their car.)

Dartmouth College
Dartmouth just missed the endurance event working tirelessly to change out a failed generator.

"We got to skip school for this! What's cool is the cars are mini, they're small with the biggest engines in the world!" -9-yr-old spectator #1

"I'm voting for the one that looks the coolest and the fastest!" -9-yr-old spectator #2

"Dartmouth is taking apart their entire car and putting it back together again. They can do it." -Calvin Krishen

"For how bad things seem, they're actually going well." -Dartmouth team member

"What's remarkable is that they're all cheerful and having a great time!" -Prof. John Collier

"The teamwork and speed with which they're getting through this is amazing." –Prof. Charlie Sullivan

"It was a little disappointing, but we made a valiant effort." -Dartmouth team captain


Thayer School modeled its event after the Formula SAE® competition in which Dartmouth students have competed for over 10 years. The main difference in the Formula Hybrid competition is that teams need to consider the additional factor of fuel efficiency in the design and construction of their car. Like Formula SAE®, students must also consider the design, acceleration, handling, and endurance of their vehicle and abide by a long list of rules.

Competition sponsors include: the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE); Plug In America; New England Region SCCA; General Motors; Toyota; and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).