UND Students Race for Success

UND Students Race for Success


– Some mechanical
engineering students at
The University of North
Dakota are part of the team
called the UND Formula One
Society of Automotive Engineers.
The put together a Formula
One race car for competition.
We went out to talk to a
couple of the team mates
and give the car a test drive.
– We are here today
in the parking lot of
the Ralph Engelstad Arena with
team president David Weaver
and driver John Vlasic.
– Thanks for being on the
show with us today, you two.
– Thanks for having us.
– Great, now you can go ahead
and get ready for a drive
and I’ll talk a
little bit with Dave.
So starting off, what exactly
is a Formula One race car?
– So a Formula One race car is,
there’s different
type of racing.
So there’s NASCAR racing,
there’s Formula racing,
we’re building a Formula
race car, which is
basically a smaller
version of the Formula One
style race car.
– Okay, so how many people
are on your team, then?
– So, we have
seniors on our team
that are working on it as
a senior design project
as well as about
five undergraduates.
– Okay, so how do you
decide who does what job?
I mean, does everybody
kind of do their own thing?
Do they have a specialty?
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– So, we try and break down
into four different groups.
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We’ve got our engine
group, our intake and
exhaust group, our chassis group
and our suspension group,
and of those members,
we break down evenly
throughout the group.
– Okay, so tell me a little
bit about the process
of building the car.
– So, basically we start
from the beginning.
We buy an engine in
the beginning and we
weld our chassis, cut and
weld our chassis together,
and then after that we
just start buying one part
after another until the
whole car’s put together.
– Okay, so if you’re
buying parts, and building
this thing pretty
much from scratch,
how do you decide which
parts that you’re gonna get?
– So, a lot of it’s
based on funding,
we get all of our
funding outside through
companies that are
looking to sponsor us,
and we go based on
performance versus
how much we’re able
to spend on each part.
– Okay, so you have been
using the same engine
for awhile, correct?
– Yep, we’ve been
using a CBR Honda FI
since the beginning, and
yeah, that’s what we’ve got —
– How come you’ve been
using the Honda for so long?
– It’s just a lot
of what we’ve had
experience using through
our team as well as
a lot of the other teams
that race in this competition
have used this and found
it as a good engine.
– Okay, so now
you guys have been
building this car for
about two years or so,
if I believe, or I think
that’s what you talked about
earlier, two years, so do
you go to the competition
every year or have
you gone before,
have you not, is
this a new thing?
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– So, some years we
go every two years,
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some years we go every one year,
it just kind of depends on
how the car is coming along,
this is a two year car,
so the last time we raced
was in and we placed th.
– [Reporter] Was that your best?
– I believe that
was our best, yeah?
– Great, what you
shooting for this year?
– With our testing
that we’ve been doing,
we’re thinking we can
get under for sure.
– Cool, so how fast does it go?
– Typically, we’re looking
at about miles an hour
if we’re in a completely
wide open space.
– Wow.
Alright, well, let’s
give it a test drive.
– Sounds good.
(engine starting)
(engine idling)
(engine humming)
(engine revving)
(engine revving)
(engine turns off)
– [Reporter] Alright, wow,
that was actually pretty cool.
How fast do you
think you were going?
– Probably or
miles an hour.
– or and it can
go about , right?
– Absolutely, yeah.
– So, how do you decide who
gets to drive this thing?
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– So, we have four
different racers
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for competition due to
the competition rules.
– Okay, and it looks
like it’s kind of short,
I mean, is there qualifications
for who gets to drive it?
– No, we look for people
who are able to drive
manual and a racing
background if possible, yeah.
– Okay, so how much do
you test drive this thing
before the competition?
– As much as possible, on
any nice day that we get.
– Great, so, do you get nervous
about driving this thing?
I mean, you’re
going pretty fast.
If you’re going miles
an hour, that has to be
a little scary, right?
– Sure, I mean on
occasion, anyone would,
but you fight through it and –
– Fun, more than anything.
– have a lot of fun with it.
Exactly.
– Great.
Alright, well, best of
luck at the competition.
– Yeah, thank you very much.
– Alright.
Alright, now Dave, I
just have a couple more
questions for you.
So, obviously building
a car isn’t cheap,
where do you get
all your money from?
I know that you said
you do a little of
fundraising, but
do you get any from
The University or
anything like that?
– So, the department and the
School of Engineering and Mines
donates some for our
competition costs as well as
some of our travel fees,
but most of it comes from
outside companies
that are coming in.
They’re typically looking to
hire engineers from our school,
and so they want to get
their name out there
to all the engineers.
– Awesome, so is this
what the car looks like
when you go to competition?
Does it have
anything else on it?
Or is that what it looks like?
– So, when we go to competition,
the body will be on it,
so we’ve got a carbon
fiber body that we made,
and there’ll be all of
our sponsors logos there
around it too.
– Great.
So, last question is, what
is the team’s favorite part
about all this?
Is it building it, going
to competition, what is it?
– You know, really the
competition will be great,
but getting out and
testing every day
in a wide open space
and getting up to that
miles an hour is
really the best part.
– Great, thanks for being
on the show with us today.
– The team said building the car
costs around 30,000 dollars.
That’s not including some of
the parts that were donated.
They’ll race the car in
a Formula One SAE race
in June of 2015.

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