The countdown is on for Texas A&M's Formula SAE team.

The team of more than 30 engineering students will compete in the 2011 International Formula Hybrid Competition May 1-4 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Louden, N.H.

Formula Hybrid challenges college and university students to design, build and race high-performance, plug-in hybrid vehicles. Building on the Formula SAE program, Formula Hybrid adds an extra level of complexity: fuel efficiency. With technological challenges for students with backgrounds in electrical, mechanical and computer engineering, Formula Hybrid encourages interdisciplinary teamwork and innovation.

Texas A&M has a winning history in the Formula SAE contest: The car and team won the hybrid contest in 2009 on their first try and placed second in the 2010 hybrid contest (pictured above). Texas A&M teams have taken part in the international Formula SAE competition since 1999 and won that competition in 2000, 2006 and 2007.

The racecar was designed and built by engineering students at Texas A&M for the Formula SAE student design competition. Dr. Make McDermott, associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, is the team adviser.

The competition was founded by Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth in 2006. Thayer School runs the event each year, and the competition carries the endorsement of the Society of Automotive Engineers Inc. (SAE) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The event also includes an educational program for high school students interested in learning more about Formula Hybrid.