Strongsville, OH PPG Automotive Refinish has been supporting the Ohio State University College of Engineering’s Formula Buckeyes participating in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) racing challenges.
Made up exclusively of students, the team designs and fabricates a high-performance, open-wheeled, formula-style racing car that competes against entries from more than 110 colleges and universities from around the country.
PPG is a long-time team sponsor and has contributed to the students’ efforts by making available all the necessary products including Envirobase® High Performance waterborne basecoat and Vibrance Collection® VC5200 clear coat to provide the car with a first-class finish. In addition, technicians at PPG’s state-of-the-art training facility in Columbus, Ohio, provided their expertise in applying the finishes.
The Formula Buckeyes team consists of students from the university’s engineering, art and technology, marketing and business administration disciplines. Their goal is to find inventive ways of improving a formula racer’s performance by reducing its weight.
The team’s work with cutting-edge composite materials and innovative technologies will translate into practical development opportunities for the automotive industry to enhance fuel efficiency standards and minimize impact on the environment.
The team’s groundbreaking designs were recognized by President Barack Obama when he met with the students on his recent visit to the Ohio State University campus. The university has a long history of introducing new concepts and solutions to help the nation develop its alternative energy sources. It is this pioneering spirit that caught the attention of PPG Industries and is why the Automotive Refinish business unit supports and collaborates with forward-thinking organizations.
"The Formula SAE competition is intended to encourage students to take part in vehicle research and development," said Randy Cremeans, PPG Automotive Refinish, director of marketing.
"The work these students are doing and how they overcome technological challenges definitely benefits the automotive industry. The students on the Formula Buckeyes racing team are highly regarded in the industry because of the problem-solving experience they gain. Every time we are there, we learn with them and are thrilled we can contribute to their success. Seeing the passion, leadership and commitment these students have for the automotive industry makes us feel confident they will deliver innovative ideas and technologies that help shape our future."
Cars competing in SAE events have horsepower limitations; to boost performance and efficiency the car’s weight must be reduced. The Formula Buckeyes’ racer uses lightweight, carbon-fiber structural materials. However, the carbon-fiber substrate poses painting challenges since many finishes cannot withstand the high heat and gas fumes the car generates.
It is also important to apply as little paint as possible to minimize the impact on the car’s weight and performance. PPG solved the problem by painting the racer with an application of durable Envirobase High Performance products. The result is a gleaming red-and-white formula racer weighing just 450 pounds and capable of churning out 0-60 mph times in the 3.5-second range.
"Working with PPG is a great experience," said Jared Martin, Formula Buckeyes team leader. "It’s nice to work with a group of guys who can share our passion for cars. The help they’ve given us is incredible, and we love the PPG paint and primers! We get car clubs coming to our shop at times, and they’re all jealous of our paint scheme and the car’s finish. Thank you, PPG."
The Formula Buckeyes traveled to Hockenheim, Germany, this month for Formula Student Germany (FSG) to compete against 77 other teams from around the world in a series of performance contests.