Osprey Racers turn Lot 18 into a racetrack

Alex Wilson

While most students were sleeping in or soaking up the sun, one group of students spent Labor Day working under the sun in Lot 18.

They blocked the exits with vehicles and marked a course with orange cones. A formula racing engine roared to life. They transformed Lot 18 into a racetrack.

Osprey Racing spent its holiday collecting data and information to improve their vehicle. Some students monitored computer screens and processed data. Others drove or maintained the vehicle.

“The Osprey Racers are a student group that was started by students a few years ago all on there own initiative,” said Dr. Tumeo, Dean of the College of Computing and Engineering.

Osprey Racing, founded in 2010, is a relatively unknown. The club initially lacked funding from UNF. Now local sponsors, such as Sabre Technology and Miscellaneous Sheet Metal, provide the monetary support for Osprey Racing.

“This will be our third year in competition,” said Michael McCollum, president of Osprey Racing “We’ve had a great set of founding people that put the club together and put a whole race car together, almost from nothing.”

Despite its young age, Osprey Racing is making a name for itself. At Formula SAE 2012, Osprey Racing placed 81st out of 120 international teams. The next year at FSAE 2013 the club jumped 20 spots to place 61st.

“We have almost the whole car designed for the coming year already. We’re way ahead of schedule. I think this year we’ll do really well in the competition,” McCollum said.

UNF doesn’t have the same advantage as other schools. Universities like Oregon State have multi-million-dollar budgets, advanced manufacturing equipment and a longer-standing program. UNF’s team, on the other hand, has 30 members and a budget of $25,000.

“When it comes down to it, it’s the experience that’ll take us further than anything,” McCollum said.

Osprey Racing members gain hands-on experience, and not all of it has to do with engineering. Teams are required to put together business models, marketing strategies, and advertisements as if their car were to be mass-marketed. This, compounded with mechanical experience and industrial fabrication, provides a variety of opportunities for students in the field.

“They’ve demonstrated what an engineering education means at UNF. Not only will they get the best education in the country and be a great engineer, but it’s fun,” said Tumeo.

Email Alex Wilson at [email protected]