Formula High School 2017

Click the image to access a photo gallery. Photos by PHS senior Tyler Luedtke

PHS Formula car wins at Road America

Posted May 29, 2017

Plymouth High School took first in the Modified Class of the Formula High School challenge May 15-16 at Road America.

Three different drivers behind the wheel of PHS car S-66 averaged 45.83, the second-fastest time in any class.

The car was designed, built and raced by members of the PHS Tech Club, created a few years ago as an umbrella extracurricular for various tech ed-related projects. The club provides hands-on experience with real-world problems for those interested in engineering and motorsports, but also draws on math, welding, CNC, manufacturing, physics, language arts.

The Formula team is comprised of 20 students from all four grades, some of whom have not taken any tech ed classes. PHS first participated in Formula High School last year, where it took third in Stock Racing Class. This year’s goals were to improve upon that performance and to add a second car so more students can participate.

Students designed the new car using the CAD program Autodesk Inventor, using parameters given by Formula High School such as a 16hp engine. The car embodies several innovations, including the use of round metal tubing instead of square to be lighter, and a different front-end design intended to be more stable.

Students started on the car in November, and worked on it from 6 to 10 p.m. twice a week, more as the event neared. Team members noted that teachers Greg Gritt, Jake Sherman, Beau Biller and Ken Odekirk were right there alongside them. “It’s cool to see the passion with our teachers, too,” junior Logan Kulow told the Board of Education.

Logan said that the experience helped advance his welding skills. “You can’t just read a book and know how to weld,” he said.

The project develops more than engineering, welding and driving skills. Students created a presentation to share with potential sponsors to generate enough funding to cover their budget of $5,450. Senior Tyler Luedtke, who plans to study business at UW-Whitewater, and said he appreciated the opportunity to talk with the business sponsors.

Some sponsors gave more than money. Team members visited Kohler Engines for a professional performance test by a PHS grad who now works there – and was as enthusiastic about the project as the students are.

In addition to Formula High School, the PHS Tech Club also has participated in Project GRILL, High Mileage and Beat the Heat, plus lots of community volunteer projects; each year’s projects reflect the interests of current members. Club members also lead tours for eighth-graders and second-graders in the LTC-Plymouth Science & Technology Center at PHS.

Learn more:
Visit the PHS Tech Club website at phstechclub.weebly.com.
Follow the PHS Tech Club on Facebook.
Follow the PHS Tech Club on Twitter.
• Explore the Extracurriculars section of our District Report Card to learn more about our history of success in academic extracurriculars.