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Formula One drivers take the wheel of Louisiana Tech’s Eco-marathon cars

— International racing stars demonstrate efficiency of “Diesel Dawg” and “Hot Rod” —

Formula One drivers Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen are experiencing a Louisiana Tech University brand of innovative engineering this weekend as they test the efficiency of the award-winning “Diesel Dawg” and “Hot Rod” eco cars by taking them around a demonstration track near the Circuit of Americas as part of the 2014 Formula One Grand Prix race in Austin, Texas.

Formula One star Fernando Alonso takes the wheel of Louisiana Tech's 'Diesel Dawg' eco car

Formula One star Fernando Alonso takes the wheel of Louisiana Tech’s ‘Diesel Dawg’ eco car

Louisiana Tech eco car team members Matt Condon (sophomore electrical engineering), Evan McDougall (junior chemical engineering), Timothy Parker (sophomore mechanical engineering), Paul Puneky (sophomore mechanical engineering) and Xavier Theriot (junior mechanical engineering) along with team advisor, Dr. Michael Swanbom, lecturer of mechanical engineering at Louisiana Tech, were invited to participate in the event and had an opportunity to brief the drivers and the media on fuel efficiency and driving strategies for the vehicles.

“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for our students,” Swanbom said. “I am so pleased that their dedication and success is being recognized and rewarded with an invitation and an opportunity like this.”

The Louisiana Tech eco car team will also be on-hand during the Circuit of Americas Fan Fest on October 31- November 2 to showcase “Diesel Dawg” and “Hot Rod,” and to answer questions about the cars and the engineering process.

Dr. Heath Tims, one of the team advisors and an associate professor of mechanical engineering at Louisiana Tech, says that the team displays both excellence in engineering and in leadership, and enjoys promoting these projects.

“Our team has always looked for way to publicize what we are doing,” said Tims. “This is a great opportunity for our team to showcase the cars we build, and the type of experiences we provide our students at Louisiana Tech.”

Achieving 488 miles per gallon, the “Hot Rod” vehicle holds the Shell Eco-marathon Americas Urban Concept class record for best performance in diesel fuel efficiency. Other Louisiana Tech Eco-marathon cars, including “Diesel Dawg” have won awards at the Shell Eco-marathon over the last several years.

Last spring, “Diesel Dawg” won first place in vehicle design and third place in best diesel fuel economy in the Urban Concept class.

In addition to participating in the Formula One events, the Louisiana Tech eco car team is preparing for the 2015 Shell Eco-marathon Americas competition, which will be held in Detroit, Michigan, April 9-12, 2015.

Written by Brandy McKnight – mcknight@latech.edu