BY SAM HOUSEHOLDER email@example.com
---- — GOSHEN — The Goshen High School Super Mileage team is heading to Houston this week to compete in the Shell Eco Marathon for the third consecutive year.
The team, led by engineering technology teacher J.J. Johnson, is taking two cars to the competition — a gasoline-powered electronic fuel-injected car and a diesel-powered car.
This was the first year the class has tackled diesel.
“We used an old body from last year and old systems like our steering system and we put the diesel engine in there,” Johnson said. “We knew learning about the diesel and getting that integrated into the system was going to be a little bit more challenging being something new.”
The team routinely reuses old parts from past years, according to Johnson, in an effort to save time and money.
“We try not to start from scratch every year,” he said Thursday as students tinkered with one of the cars behind him, “because it would be such a financial drain and time commitment,”
Tools clanked and the sound of metal-on-metal echoed in the workroom Thursday as students, including senior Wesley Priem, tweaked the units.
“It’s brand new for us,” Priem said of the diesel car. “I wouldn’t say we have all the kinks worked out, that’s why we’re still testing.”
Johnson and students hope that their cars will achieve 1,000 miles per gallon at the competition, which is Saturday. The vehicles are driven 10 laps around a five-eighths mile track and then their fuel is measured to calculate their miles per gallon. The teams have 24 minutes and 15 seconds to complete the 10 laps so they must average around 15 miles per hour.
GHS senior Ryan Doyle, who is assistant captain of the gas-powered vehicle, feels good about Saturday’s competition.
“The signs have been very positive,” Doyle said. “I feel as long as we have no hiccups and we’re able to run smoothly and be able to complete all of our laps in Houston, we will have no issue getting to our goal of 1,000 mpg.”
The team’s cars will be shipped to Texas Monday while the team will leave Wednesday. Thursday the competition begins with technical inspection, Friday is for testing and Saturday and Sunday the team competes, returning to Goshen April 28, Johnson said.
Other local high schools are competing in Indianapolis next week in the Indiana Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Alliance Super Mileage Challenge at Lucas Oil Raceway Park. Teams from Fairfield, Northridge and Wawasee High schools will be competing April 28 in that event.