Race crew gets key piece of equipment with alumni grant.
In auto racing, every little advantage helps. That’s where the dynamometer, or “dyno” comes in. The instrument precisely measures engine horsepower and torque. It’s something the UVic Formula SAE team, in five years, hasn’t had in its garage. When you’re up against 80 other universities from around the world, like they will be this summer, a key piece of gear like the dyno can make a huge difference.
The UVic Alumni Association, with the aid of donations to the alumni fund, is providing a $2,000 contribution to the student racers to help cover the cost of the dyno, an $8,000 piece.
Team spokesman Graeme Newby says the dyno is even more important this year as they convert from gasoline to E85, a blend of 85 per cent ethanol and 15 per cent gas. “We feel that switching to E85 will be beneficial both in the vehicle’s performance and in promoting E85 as a viable alternative to gasoline,” he says.
About 30 students, mostly from the Faculty of Engineering, form the crew with about 10 core members. There are five drivers. The cost of the $20,000 car, designed and built in a campus garage, comes entirely from sponsorships that the students secure.
The upcoming race, organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers, is about more than just seeing who can go the fastest. When the UVic team competes in June in Fontana, California their car will be judged on a number of criteria—a static display outlining the car’s specifications, acceleration, cornering and road course tests.
Each year the alumni association, through its grants and awards committee, supports a variety of student and alumni activities that enhance education, campus life or generally support the university. “We do appreciate the support,” says Newby who hopes the competitive tuning provided by the new dyno will boost the team to a best-ever, top 10 finish.
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