DALLAS (CBS11) – A Formula One-style race car designed and built by SMU students for competition has disappeared.
SMU Police are now investigating the theft believed to have occurred Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
The car and most of the tools used to built it were inside a trailer parked on the 5500 block of Dyer Street, just east of Highway 75.
One of the students involved in “Hilltop Motorsports,” the group that built it, noticed the trailer and its contents were missing Tuesday.
“I was kind of speechless. I couldn’t believe it. We were hoping maybe it got towed,” said team captain, Sam Biancheri.
The university has confirmed the trailer wasn’t towed or moved by anyone authorized to access it.
The 2017 model race car, dubbed “Beatrix,” ranked 27 out of 78 in the team’s second year competing against student from around the globe at the annual Formula Society of Automotive Engineers event in Nebraska.
“Thousands of hours went into that car,” said Biancheri.
Students were studying the car’s performance in order to design a better model for 2018 and planned to use its parts to build their entry into next summer’s competition.
It was missing its outer shell at the time it disappeared.
“Everything they have, everything they need to compete was in that trailer,” said Marc Christensen, Dean of SMU’s Lyle School of Engineering. “To have everything disappear in that trailer has been heartbreaking.”
Christensen says the car would be of little use to anyone outside the team and hopes whoever has will abandon it somewhere it can be recovered.
“When you have something, the students took from nothing to a race car you can drive around a track and compete with, that’s an amazing achievement,” he said.
Biancheri says the theft will set the team back for the 2018 competition, unless “Beatrix” and her trailer reappear soon.
“We’re trying to be hopeful but we’re also trying to be prepared for the worst as well,” said Biancheri.
Anyone with information is asked to call SMU Police.
For more information on Hilltop Motorsports, click here.