by Jin Choi ’14 LAS
Formula SAE is a collegiate design competition in which students manage and finance a racing team. Organized by SAE International (Society of Automotive Engineers), the first competition was held in 1979 and has since inspired a number of spin-off events worldwide. Leading up to the competition, teams develop a formula-style race car on the notion that they are engineering firms hired by a manufacturing company to produce 1,000 units. Over the course of one production year, each team designs, manufactures and races an open-wheeled prototype based on rules that foster both creativity and technical skill. A true real world experience, each team must manage vehicle research, design and manufacturing, as well as the finances behind their project.
The main Formula SAE event is held each May at Michigan International Speedway. The competition consists of both static and dynamic events, which are weighed differently during scoring. The static events evaluate the logistical aspects of the project and include the design presentation and cost analysis report. The students must also deliver a simulated business presentation to venture capitalists considering an investment in the team’s engineering firm. The competition’s dynamic events examine the car’s on-track performance and include acceleration, skid-pad, autocross, endurance and fuel efficiency. The 22 km endurance race assesses the overall performance of the car.
Each year since its founding in 2008, the NovaRacing team has started at square one with the design of a new car (the previous model cannot be reused). The team begins with an evaluation of the performance of last year’s car, gathering data and researching each system. New designs are completed in early fall, and manufacturing of the prototype begins in October. The goal is to have the car completed by January in order to test and prepare for the race. Throughout the process, students are faced with design obstacles, tight deadlines, and the challenge of balancing the Formula SAE project with schoolwork and other student activities. Though faced with numerous difficulties, the team agrees that one of the biggest rewards lies in tackling these challenges.
While it is not judged as part of the competition, sponsorships also play a large role in the team’s work. The car would not be possible without the individuals and companies who provide both funding and materials. In addition to the College of Engineering, some of the team’s largest sponsors include Ford, McCarthy Tire and Automotive Center, Royal Purple and Bally-Ribbon Mills. Sponsors receive exposure at Villanova University events, the McLaren event at Porsche of the Main Line, College of Engineering recruitment fairs and open houses, and networking and alumni gatherings. Sponsors are also given media exposure through ABC 6 News Philadelphia, the team website, and University and College of Engineering publications. For more information on sponsorships, please contact captain Albert Montemuro at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The team, currently around 25 members, meets every Friday in the garage located in the basement of CEER. At each meeting, they discuss the schedule and progress of the car’s frame, suspension, wheel assembly, powertrain, composites and electrical systems. At least one member of the team can be found working on the car at any given time, even during weekends. Most members of NovaRacing are engineers, but the group also welcomes interested students from outside the engineering discipline. All members share a passion for motor racing and for some, the Formula SAE team is the reason they chose to continue their education at Villanova.
When asked about the most enjoyable aspect of being a part of NovaRacing, Team Captain Albert Montemuro ’15 ME, replies, “I love the people I have met on the Formula team, the creativity that’s fostered and the experience each year of building something so amazing out of nothing. It has certainly defined my Villanova career.”
For more information, please visit the team’s Facebook page.
- Captain & Chassis Lead: Albert Montemuro '15 ME
- Co-Captain, Composites & Business Lead: Kendrick van Doorn '14 CpE
- Suspension Lead: Evan Pelletier '14 ME
- Powertrain Lead: Souhail Halaby '15 ME
- Electrical Lead: Eric Pauls '14 EE
- Wheel Assembly Lead: Lucia Kryuff '15 ME
- Brakes: Greg Monahan '14 ME
- Drivetrain: Colin Page '14 VSB
- Electrical Support: Kyle Pecevich '14 EE
- Electrical Support: Greg Mankes '14 EE
- Machining: Isaac Rose ’14 ME
- Suspension Support, Sponsorship Coordinator & Business Support: Christopher Logue '15 ME
- Shift Computer: John Bellizzi '15 ME
- Pedals: Samantha Testa ’16 ME
- Frame & Composites Support: Andrew Armstrong '16 ME
- Suspension Support: Sofia Gizzi '16 ME
- Oiling & Sponsorship Coordinator: Thomas Bailey '16 ME
- Cooling: Ben Fichera '16 ME
- Fuel: Nick Hammerle '16 ME
- Electrical Support: Christopher Peters '16 EE