PODCAST 127: Team Captain of Formula Hybrid Winner, Dartmouth’s Eric Din
May 15, 2014 Leave a comment
Our latest Podcast is with Eric Leung Din, Captain of the Dartmouth Formula Racing Team. Dartmouth recently won the Electric Division of the 2014 Formula Hybrid Competition. PODCAST: LISTEN NOW
If you’re wondering about the secret behind Dartmouth’s win, Eric Din dishes out some juicy details on the Podcast, like who supplied the motor/controller, who supplied the battery management, and why the car is named Shona. Of course, Dartmouth had home field advantage as host for the competition along with the Thayer School of Engineering.
Formula Hybrid has Hybrid Drive and Electric Drive Classes, and Dartmouth was competing in a field of seven (7) teams for Presentation, Design, Acceleration, Autocross and Endurance. In order to compete in many of these events, the vehicles are required to pass electrical and mechanical inspection. The event was designed by the Society of Automotive Engineers so teams were judged at pretty high standards. Only two vehicles, Dartmouth and University of Vermont, scored in all events. Eric said their team driver was driving around the track and was “astonished at all the carnage.” But this is the point of the competition: a rigorous, hands-on, project-based education involving problem solving and teamwork.
It took the team 18 months to build the car that won the competition. While many teams have scores or even a hundred team members, Dartmouth only had seven team members. Eric credits a smaller, more tightly knit team for some of their success, but also stressed that preparation and accountability were also important. The team was helped by an amazing support network of instructors and advisors, like Prof.’s John Collier (Lead Advisor), Charlie Sullivan (Electrical Advisor), Doug Van Citters (Mechanical Advisor) and others.
Eric Din started getting interested in building cars when he was younger going to the Chicago Auto Show every year with his father. When he was 15 he made his dad fix up their ‘84 Alfa Romeo Spider. Later he sold it to buy and restore a ’72 Toyota Land Cruiser. Now restoring cars is a hobby of his, the latest project being a ’71 Datsun 510. His dream after he graduates is to go to work for an electric vehicle company.