Kansas State University


Powercat Motorsports

Author: Kelsey Nelson

FSAE Lincoln Competition

The FSAE competition is pretty much a time and place for teams to show off a year of hard work and dedication. The first day is spent by having FSAE rules experts meticulously look over your car and gear to make sure you have met all the required templates and specifications. This is where actually reading the rules comes in quite handy! We also have to go through a tilt test to check that the car does not leak any fluids and the exhaust noise has to be at or below 110dBc. Next we have to pass a brakes test where we must lock up all 4 tires. We do all of this while also participating in a cost, business and design presentation. During these presentations we present the information to professionals who then critique and score our presentations. We finished 25th in design, 48th in business, and 42nd in cost.

The last two days is where all the fun is as we actually get to participate in the dynamic events which are acceleration, skidpad, autocross and endurance. The acceleration event is to see how fast your car can traverse a set length in a straight line and our car had the 39th fastest time in this event. Skidpad is essentially a figure eight that tests how well your suspension works in a sweeping turn. Our best time around one circle was 5.355s which earned us 24th place in skidpad. Next up is autocross which is a course set up with cones consisting of slaloms and tight turns. We placed 22nd in the autocross event. The endurance event is actually two events in one. The first is the actual endurance race and the second is a fuel economy score. We had the 29th best fuel economy score but unfortunately we were not able to finish the endurance race as we ran out of fuel approximately 200 yards from the finish line. All of these event scores can be summed up into a 29th overall finish for this year’s team.

Meet Our New President


My name is Greg Hopper and I was elected by my peers to be the president of Powercat Motorsports starting in the summer of 2015. I am most certainly looking forward to this responsibility and I have steep but achievable goals for this year’s team. First, a little about myself. I will be a senior in Mechanical Engineering this coming fall semester at Kansas State University. I am originally from Gardner, KS and attended Gardner Edgerton High School. When I am not working on the formula car I enjoy attending the K-State football games, Go Cats!

This fall will mark the start of my fourth year with the team here at KSU and I have been heavily involved in the progress we have made in the past three years. Before I came to college I had little to no automotive experience and the first thing I helped with was changing the oil on one of the old cars. From that point on, I was hooked. I spent the rest of that year helping out wherever I could with manufacturing and found out that I had a knack for machining. During my sophomore year I became the teams machining specialist and I helped to optimize parts in regards to making machining simpler which in turn cuts down on the manufacturing time of the car. I also helped to design some new, more reliable mounts for the differential. My junior year brought a new challenge as I became the design lead for the drivetrain system and a team leader. I designed a center locking wheel hub that reduced the un-sprung weight of the car while retaining the required stiffness.

I am excited to get the ball rolling for this coming year and I have set a few goals for this year. First, I want to have a running car by the end of February. The second big goal I have is to do as much testing on the car as we can to validate our designs which can only be done if the car is ready to go early. We are required by rule to do testing on our chassis so the main focus there is to reduce the weight of the chassis. We now have an engine dyno at our disposal and our engine and electronics teams will be very busy this coming fall. We will be testing different intakes and exhausts as well as trying out some different camshafts to help squeeze as much power as we can out of the motor. Our electronics team is looking heavily into developing an electronically controlled throttle. We will also be testing different gear ratios in our drivetrain as well as different torque bias ratios in the differential. Most of our testing on the car as a whole will be focused on suspension and aerodynamics tuning and validation. These two areas affect the performance of the car the most and we are looking to dial in specific set ups for each event at competition.

I am very excited about the opportunities we have for improving the performance of the car as well as validating our designs. We have a young but hard working team this coming year and I expect we will accomplish great things!



Greg Hopper

President | Powercat Motorsports



Looking Forward

The 2015-2016 design team has already been hard at work designing the new car for the upcoming school year. Our main goal will be to validate our designs via physical testing. We will also be striving to maintain the reliability of past years cars. We will again feature the Yamaha yfz 450 motor along with a carbon fiber monocoque chassis and a full aerodynamics package.

Roll Out 2015


Please join us on April 18 for Roll Out! The event will begin with a presentation from our design leaders. This will be followed by the unveiling of our 2015 car, “Panther 2.0.”

The event will begin at April 18 at 12:00 PM in Fiedler Auditorium in Fiedler Hall. Lunch will be provided by the team.

Please RSVP on Facebook or by emailing kdnelson@ksu.edu.

A special design review will be held at 2:00 PM in Room 3034 of Rathbone Hall. All team alumni are encouraged to attend to judge the presentations and offer feedback to the design leaders. If you are interested in being part of this, please RSVP separately for this to kdnelson@ksu.edu.

Any questions about the event can be directed to Kelsey Nelson at kdnelson@ksu.edu

We hope to see you there!

Welcome to the new Powercat Motorsports newsletter! Throughout the fall semester, we worked with K-State’s Division of Communications and Marketing to create this new platform for our newsletters.  We are very excited to try this new resource and hope you are as well.

To stay up-to-date with the Formula SAE team, please also like us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.

Fall Design Progress

Over the summer, team leaders have worked to create designs for the 2014-2015 car nicknamed Panther. FSAE has introduced new aerodynamic design rules for the upcoming year.  Therefore, to speed up the aero design process, a Senior Design team has been formed.  Our plans for this year are to finish the car as soon as possible to allow the most testing time.  To accomplish this, we will minimize the amount of changes from last year.  This includes using the same chassis tool and engine brand/model. The designs to suspension, drivetrain, and the brake systems will only have slight optimizations.  The suspension team is working to improve steering feel and decrease the steering radius.  The drivetrain team is utilizing a center lock wheel design for lighter weight and improved strength.  The brake system will have bigger front rotors and different calipers to improve deceleration and lower braking temperatures.

Since the school year has started the team has worked to organize each design team and prepare the shop for manufacturing to begin.  Due to the ongoing Phase IV construction, the Baja SAE team has moved in with us at the Foundation garage.  In order for us to have room for both teams, we have worked to clean out the shop and organize it as best we can.  The team should receive funding from the university within the next two weeks, so manufacturing will begin soon. In the meantime, we have continued testing 2014 Jaguar, which includes an endurance test that we finished at the spillway.  We were able to borrow cones from Salina Region SCCA and successfully completed 30 laps of a mock endurance track.  The weather even decided to rain throughout the test following the driver change.  The car was able to finish, without complication regardless of the weather and track conditions, which marks a milestone improvement over previous years.


Homecoming Results

Our organization participated in the homecoming competition for student organizations during the week of October 19 – 24.

We kicked off the week by running, or walking, in the Philanthropy 5K on Sunday. Approximately 25 team members attended this event, which benefited Special Olympics. A couple hours later, team members chalked a square in Bosco Plaza reflecting the homecoming theme, Coast to Coast. We received a fourth place finish for the sidewalk chalking competition. Then, that evening, members yelled and stomped at Pant the Chant, placing second in the event.

Tuesday was one of our favorite events, Paint the Ville. To complete this event, organizations are given a window of an Aggieville business. There they paint a mural reflecting the homecoming theme.

The next event was on Thursday in the form of a children’s carnival. For this we brought the car to the student union. A team member dressed up in full drive gear to take pictures with the kids. Many of the children were thrilled for the opportunity to both see and take a picture with a racecar and its driver. We placed fourth in this event.

Our last event was the parade on Friday. This year, we had three running cars for the event, Jaguar, Lynx, and Puma. The parade starts at the Manhattan Towne Center parking lot, proceeds down Poyntz, and then weaves over to Aggieville. The team enjoys this event because we are able to gain exposure for our organization. Additionally, many people are very excited to see K-State’s racing team. Keeping with the trend, we placed four in this competition.

Overall, the team placed second in the student organization division of the homecoming competition, being beat by only the Men’s Crew team. Homecoming week is a busy exciting for the team, which allows for team members to bond and get to know each other better. Powercat Motorsports leaders would like to thank all team members for their hard work to make this week successful.

Check out our Facebook for pictures from homecoming!

Winter Break Progress

The team kicked off winter break by sending machining foam to one of our sponsors to make molds for both the intake and side pods. After receiving the completed molds, the team prepped them by sanding to ensure proper dimensions. When this was complete, the team moved on to the engine dyno. Our aim was to ensure that everything was working properly to prepare for testing the engine. The head was sent off to be ported and polished, which helps improve performance. Also, the chassis team bent the roll hoops to be ready for the completion of the chassis.  A final focus of break was the inspection and repair of old cars in preparation of spring drive days.