SEMA eNews Vol. 20, No. 50, December 14, 2017

Clemson Students to Build First-Ever Hybrid Rallycross Vehicle

By SEMA Editors

  CU ICAR
Automotive engineering students in “The Deep Orange 9” program at Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) are building a first-ever, high-performance motorsports vehicle with a clean, fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain, advanced technical features and highly dynamic handling and acceleration. Photo credit: CU-ICAR
   

An automotive engineering student program at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) called “The Deep Orange 9” aims to bridge the gap between today’s gas-fueled cars and hybrid vehicles of the future.

These students are building a first-ever, high-performance motorsports vehicle with a clean, fuel-efficient hybrid powertrain, advanced technical features and highly dynamic handling and acceleration. The concept is in response to rising fuel-efficiency standards and millennials’ interest in vehicles that are both safe and clean.

Honda R&D Americas Inc. is the primary sponsor of Deep Orange 9, also supported by Aisin Group and JTEKT Corp. as Leadership Sponsors; BFGoodrich as Track Sponsor; and SEMA and Red Bull as Marketing Sponsors. Deep Orange 9 will also integrate concussion research in collaboration with the Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS) Sports Medicine Institute, DriveSafety Inc. and EyeTracking Inc.

Deep Orange 9 is designing for global rallycross, and plans to disrupt current perceptions of energy-efficient vehicles by showing they can meet extreme performance demands in a safe, economical way. Deep Orange 9 will also present new ways to market vehicles to motorsports fans. Their project will benefit from an adjacent marketing collaboration sponsored by the Robert H. Brooks Sports Science Institute at Clemson. Undergraduate students studying consumer behavior, sports marketing and marketing strategy will leverage consumer research to determine, segment and target customers for Deep Orange 9. Using these customer profiles and a deep dive into the OEM sponsor brand, students will design marketing strategies to position Deep Orange 9 for market success.

Deep Orange is a project-based learning program that produces highly capable automotive engineers by immersing them in the world of vehicle manufacturers and suppliers. Over two years, the program provides students with experience in financial and market analysis, vehicle design, development, prototyping and production planning. While developing and manufacturing the prototype, students gain comprehensive technical knowledge as well as valuable “soft skills” that often are overlooked in traditional engineering programs.

“Many leading automakers’ production cars are becoming increasingly electrified; so will their motorsports vehicles and racing efforts. The race for the future of next-generation race cars and high-performance systems are critical to vehicle electrification and our autonomous future,” said John Waraniak, SEMA vice president of vehicle technology. “Deep Orange 9 is centered on the ability to solve problems and the demonstration of technical capability from the track to the street. Innovative programs like Deep Orange 9 help ensure that all racing does not become vintage racing and the future of motorsports remains relevant through modern values, safety performance and advanced vehicle technologies.”

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