HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii Manoa has a different kind of team with a need for speed.
The Engineering department's Rainbow Warrior Racing Team designed and built a formula-style racing car, and raced it in an international competition against other universities at the Formula SAE competition in Lincoln, Neb.
This year, the team — primarily made of mechanical engineering seniors — earned its highest placement ever, a 14th-place finish out of 80 schools.
This may not look stellar on paper, but the team's previous best was finishing 54th.
"It started with the goals we set for ourselves last year," said Keanu Kim, the team's project manager. "We want to build a simple and reliable vehicle, take it to competition and complete all the events."
The Rainbow Warriors had never made it through all five racing events at the competition before.
Students began manufacturing the vehicle, named RWR18, in early 2018.
Click here to see more videos and photos from the racing team.
But planning for the Formula SAE competition began last summer.
"We usually spend the summer getting to know the new team and starting some research and design work and then usually we're designing up until about Christmas break," Kim said.
Kim says there's much more involved in the project than engineering.
"It's really like running a business. We have a lot of the challenges that any business would face as well with being successful, time management, fundraising, sponsorships, managing a budget and team dynamic," he said.
"The thing I realized is it gave color to the equations, the homework, the worksheets, the essays and the reports. It gave color to those seemingly drab and boring things that I was doing at school," said Dwight Matsuo, the team's system integrator.