Penn Electric Racing unveils new REV7 race car despite pandemic setbacks

During the pandemic, Penn Electric Racing virtually designed the REV7, an almost entirely new design from REV6. The team is slated to bring the REV7 to this year’s FSAE Michigan competition in May.

After a two-year hiatus, Penn Electric Racing—Penn’s Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (FSAE) race car-building team—has unveiled their latest creation: the REV7. The team, who has earned 39 trophies during their eight years of competing, is slated to bring the REV7 to this year’s FSAE Michigan competition in Brooklyn, Michigan in May.

Roughly two years ago to this date, Penn’s campus physically shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the team was sent home before they were able to finish building their previous REV6 model. They competed in three events for FSAE’s Virtual Competition in May and June of 2020, and then worked completely virtual on REV7’s design for the academic year following.

So many of their members ended up graduating during the work-from-home period that the team spent that time essentially designing a brand new car.

“We decided that it was best for team sustainability to redesign the car in order to ensure design ownership,” says Leslie Lytle, the team’s accumulator and operations lead. “The pandemic gave us an unusually long time to design the new car, which really allowed us to fully understand every part.”

Key changes to the design include the switch from REV6’s four-wheel drive to REV7’s two-wheel drive, and the implementation of the team’s first pullrod suspension system. They also made the critical decision to change this year’s design to a rear wheel drive “to ensure that current team members designed every system on REV7 and had a full understanding of how they work,” says Lytle.

This story is by Ebonee Johnson. Read more at Penn Engineering Today.