One of the main reasons many students choose Virginia Tech over other universities and colleges is due to the excellent extracurricular activities and educational opportunities. Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering provides students with a plethora of opportunities that will allow students to expand their knowledge from their classrooms to the real world. These opportunities include professional fraternities and design teams. Educational organizations such as these allow students to expand their skill set, collaborate with their like-minded peers, and gain valuable and unique career experience.
Virginia Tech Grand Touring (VTGT) is a competitive senior design team dedicated to modifying a late model production car for the ChampCar Endurance Series, a 12-hour endurance race. The ChampCar World Series has endurance races from 7 hours to 38 hours. The Virginia Tech Grand Touring design team is composed of senior students primarily a part of the Mechanical Engineering Department. However, any undergraduate senior student of any discipline is welcome to join VTGT. There are currently about 15 students on the team. Within the design team, there are a plethora of mini-projects that students are able to work on, some of which include applying engineering principles to the car’s braking system, suspension design, and overall aerodynamics. During the 2021-2022 school year, the Virginia Tech Grand Touring team raced the 2004 Ford Focus SVT for the first time. The 2022-2023 team continued working on the Ford SVT Focus, with an emphasis on increasing the car’s overall performance. Over the years, the Grand Touring team has won many awards; they have won 2nd and 3rd in class, and the Chandler School Sportsmanship Award.
Students who are a part of this team shared that they have learned so many valuable skills and are glad to have found a team project they are passionate about. Many of the members shared that they chose VTGT because of their interest in racing and wheel-to-wheel competitions. Additionally, many students shared that they were able to apply their classroom knowledge to their VTGT projects and it is interesting to see how a normal car can be altered into a race car. The students have collectively agreed that this experience is very unique and rewarding. The students who are a part of this team have built a strong bond and truly enjoy their work on the team. Each student feels that they are truly making an impact on the car and have been able to use VTGT as a valuable career and life experience. Virginia Tech College of Engineering and the sponsors have helped these students and their project in an unimaginable way. I strongly believe that this is an outstanding design team that deserves to be recognized for all of their hard work and dedication.