IMCO provides tools, hosts event for college racing teamsWritten by Duane Ramsey | | firstname.lastname@example.org
After learning many college racing teams can’t afford certain tools due to strict budgets, IMCO Carbide Tool of Perrysburg stepped up and provided tools as well as technical assistance to several teams, including the University of Toledo’s.
The business also hosted the inaugural IMCO Invitational on May 6 as a preliminary event for the International Formula SAE (FSAE) competition at Michigan International Speedway (MIS), held May 8-11.
“It’s like a dress rehearsal for the MIS event,” said Matt Osburn, vice president of IMCO.
“The teams put their cars through the paces without serious competition,” said Steve Avers, application support team leader at IMCO.
Formula racing competitions are held annually for college teams, sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). In the FSAE competition, engineering students at schools around the world work to design and build a new race car each year. The college teams solicit donations from companies that will help them build the race cars from kits.
College teams have strict rules and budgets for materials and tools. The teams are responsible for recruiting sponsors and developing supplier relationships.
IMCO first became involved by providing cutting tools and technical assistance for the Hardrocker Racing program at the South Dakota School of Mines and Technology (SDSMT) in 2012.
IMCO received more contacts from schools for tools and began helping the Rocket Motorsports team at UT.
In the past, IMCO hosted some of the teams at its headquarters and manufacturing facility in Perrysburg. Company officials were so delighted with the ongoing relationships they decided to expand the idea, Osburn said.
“We wanted to do something that would bring the students together here, just to meet each other, talk and have a little fun before they head up to the FSAE competition at MIS,” Osburn said.
“Matt came up with the idea of having an invitational race. We randomly pick four or five schools from a wide range of areas to compete in several events in competition for fun,” Avers said.
IMCO invited five teams to the inaugural event in May, including Hardrocker Racing from SDSMT, Rocket Motorsports from UT, Bearcat Motorsports from the University of Cincinnati, Illini Motorsports from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Formula ETS of Montreal, Quebec.
The Illinois team was unable to attend and the Montreal team canceled due to technical problems but made it to the international event at MIS. So, an invitation was extended to FEI Racing, a 10-member team from São Paulo, Brazil, that UT was hosting for the international event.
IMCO provided the teams from Toledo, Illinois, South Dakota and Montreal with a care package of tools including carbide end mills and related materials, valued at $3,000-$4,000. The Cincinnati team declined IMCO’s offer because its car was already finished.
“By the time IMCO contacted us, we were already done but we didn’t want to miss the events. We’re here to build a relationship for next year,” said Matt Davis, a UC senior.
The tools came with offers of technical support from Avers and his staff at IMCO. The teams called or emailed Avers for technical assistance leading up to the two events in May.
The inaugural IMCO Invitational was held at the Center for Emergency Preparedness at Owens Community College, where emergency responders learn safe driving practices.
The IMCO Invitational featured four events: a sprint for the fastest time in 100 yards, slalom weaving between cones, long obstacle course with chicanes and Chicago boxes, and a double figure eights as well as an endurance competition, which combined all four events.
FEI Racing placed first with a race car that was “head and shoulders over the rest and definitely the top car of the day,” Osburn said. Rocket Motorsports placed second; Bearcat Motorsports, third; and Hardrocker Racing from SDSMT, fourth.
Marcus Hamann of the Brazilian team said they hope to develop a sponsor relationship with IMCO. Osburn said he hopes the team is able to come back for next year’s events.
The Rocket Motorsports team began building the chassis in January for the open-wheel, formula-style race car powered by a four-cylinder Honda motorcycle engine.
“IMCO’s tooling was outstanding and allowed us to cut parts in about one third of the time,” said Dale Hamberg, a senior mechanical engineering student at UT who serves as team leader for Rocket Motorsports.
Hamberg said the car weighs 430 pounds, can go from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds and reaches 90 mph. A team of eight to 10 students built 90 percent of the car in the machine shop located on the UT Engineering campus.
“It’s very time-consuming and takes complete dedication,” said Hamberg, who is from Coldwater, Ohio. He plans to lead the UT team in 2014 as well.
“We hope to do it again next year. We just enjoy getting the teams together. We get a chance to meet and mingle with the engineering students,” Osburn said.
“It’s nice to get that exposure and see IMCO tools playing a role in their designs’ development. It plants the seeds to grow business relationships with people we hope will be the next generation of our customers. Fifty potential customers come here every year and have a great experience,” he said.
IMCO Carbide Tool was founded in 1977 by Larry Osburn. He turned the business over to his sons, Perry, who serves as president and Matt, vice president. The company has 85 employees at its home offices and manufacturing facilities in Perrysburg and Warren, Mich.
For more information about IMCO Carbide Tools, visit www.imcousa.com. For more information about the IMCO Invitational, contact Avers at email@example.com.