Students Prepare for National Formula SAE® Competition

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When engineering students from across the nation converge for the annual Formula SAE® (Society of Automotive Engineers) U.S. Competition in Detroit this May, look for teams from seven southern universities to have a competitive edge since they tested at NASCAR's Most Competitive Track.

Approximately 200 students from Auburn University, The University of Alabama, Vanderbilt University, Middle Tennessee State University, Georgia Tech, Southern Polytechnic State University and Mississippi State University - along with 300 more of their family and friends - were guests of Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday, Jan. 20 thanks to Red Bull North America's Collegiate Motorsports Day.

The Formula SAE® competition is for SAE student members to conceive, design, fabricate, and compete with small formula-style racing cars. The restrictions on the car frame and engine are limited so that the knowledge, creativity, and imagination of the students are challenged. The cars are built with a team effort over a period of about one year and are taken to the annual competitions for judging and comparison with other vehicles from colleges and universities throughout the world.

"Formula SAE® basically consists of engineering students building open wheel cars from scratch at their respective colleges and universities," said Lauren Doyle, Red Bull North America Field Marketing Manager for Alabama. "They build the cars over the course of a year leading up to national competition in the spring, and don't get a lot of practice leading up to it. Collegiate Motorsports Day gives some of the team members seat time that they would not get otherwise, and helps build a sense of community among the teams as well. We chose to hold this event at Talladega Superspeedway because we thought that would be a great way for the students to get the excitement of a world-class racing environment. With Red Bull entering into NASCAR and Talladega Superspeedway being nice enough and having the space to let us come out there, the facility was a good fit."

Red Bull also rewarded Saturday's winning team from Auburn University with tickets to the upcoming Gatorade Duel at Daytona on Thursday, Feb. 15. Auburn Formula SAE® Racing Team Manager Ben Steele said the reward was a big morale boost, as was experiencing Collegiate Motorsports Day here.

"We held the event last year at a small karting track in North Alabama, so we've definitely moved up in the world," Steele said. "For this event, we are able to bring our car from the prior year and test it and learn what to change for the new one, and it also is a good way to network with other Formula teams. It serves as a motivating experience for new members to come to an event like this and see some of the results of all the hard work leading up to the real competition in May."

Talladega Superspeedway officials are preparing for an exciting year of racing here at NASCAR's Most Competitive Track. The 2007 Aaron's Dream Weekend is set for April 27-29, and features the Aaron's 312 NASCAR Busch Series race on Saturday, April 28 and the Aaron's 499 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series race on Sunday, April 29. Kids age 11 and younger are admitted free of charge when accompanied by a ticketed adult on Friday and Saturday. Tickets are available by calling 1-877-Go2-DEGA (462-3342) Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. CDT, or by logging onto www.racetickets.com. For our hearing impaired guests, please call TDD 1-866-ISC-TRAK (1-866-472-8725). You may also purchase tickets in person at Talladega Superspeedway's Ticket Office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CDT, Monday-Friday.

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