The Rainbow Warrior Racing team in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s College of Engineering earned high honors at the 2018 International Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Collegiate Design Competition held in Lincoln, Nebraska.

The team competed with students from universities representing the U.S., Canada and Mexico to design, build and compete a formula-style race car by using classroom theories and applying them in a real-life project. Gov. David Ige, an alumnus of the college, recognized the team for their achievements at a proclamation ceremony at the Hawaiʻi State Capitol in July.

Rainbow Warrior Racing team with car
Rainbow Warrior Racing team

Out of more than 115 universities that qualified to compete at the championships, The Rainbow Warrior Racing team received a national ranking of:

  • 2nd in efficiency
  • 10th for business presentation
  • 14th overall (up from 63rd place in 2017)

They competed in eight different trials such as skid pad, acceleration and autocross. UH was one of only eight universities to finish in all mandatory trials. The 2018 Formula SAE competition was the fifth consecutive contest for the UH team.

“These types of recognitions gives us a little bit of a step forward in trying to get more people to understand the importance of engineering, science, mathematics, higher education, the University of Hawaiʻi and everything else that goes on in this island,” said Song Choi, assistant dean in the College of Engineering.

The Rainbow Warrior Racing team was founded in 2004 under Choi to promote and provide opportunities for students to explore STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics)-based careers in automotive and mechanical engineering. It functions as both a student club and a capstone project for mechanical engineering students.

Unlike other universities that participated in the Formula SAE competition, the UH team does not have access to a racetrack facility and achieved their national ranking by training in a parking lot. To help improve the team’s chances in the competition, the College of Engineering needs a practice track to use for testing. During the proclamation ceremony, Ige expressed his support of Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi’s City Resolution 18-73 to facilitate the building of a raceway park on Oʻahu.

The Rainbow Warrior Racing team relied heavily on the support from many individuals and organizations in the engineering, automotive and local business communities.