The Formula e (elastic) challenge aka M3 Racer Project, aka “The Rubber Racer” has been held annually during the month of August since 2006 in ArtCenter College of Design’s Graduate Industrial Design Department.
The 14 week long design project culminates with student teams competing in a variety of events with their uniquely designed remote controlled race vehicles propelled by energy stored in 16 feet of rubber band. The event takes place on the smooth paved sidewalks of the ArtCenter sculpture garden and includes a road course, a drag race, and a hill climb. In addition there are awards for a beauty contest, and for the team that wins the most other events: a best in show award.
Formula e vehicles are designed and developed utilizing scratch-build fabrication techniques as well as with computers and rapid prototyping tools, advanced materials and mechanisms that regularly produce sophisticated design solutions that rapidly accelerate to speeds over 25mph. In the process students learn about competition, working in teams, setting goals, making plans and then implementing them with various measures of success despite surprises and adversity. The rules and specifications for Formula e racing evolved slowly. Each generation of Formula e vehicles has evolved in regard to design sophistication by innovative thinking that furthers advancements made by teams in prior years.