UNF Osprey Racing Team receives $30,000 donation

Sarah Bethea

On Tuesday, Sept. 4, the UNF Osprey Racing Team received a $30,000 donation from APR Energy and the John and Suzanne Campion Family Foundation. The team is a partnership among engineering and business students, intended to design and build a race car to compete at the national Formula Society of Automotive Engineers Championship in Michigan.

APR Energy is a leader in large-scale power solutions and the world’s leading provider of fast-track mobile turbine power, according to their website. The John and Suzanne Campion Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Jacksonville that serves to improve the lives of the less privileged through health, education and nutrition initiatives. John Campion is APR Energy’s Chairman.

The Osprey Race Team competed at the FSAE competition in Michigan. Photo courtesy of Thomas Strickland.


The donation was presented by Campion to Dean Mark Tumeo of the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction at UNF. Campion spoke of APR Energy’s relationship with Osprey Racing and how they are happy to support students who dedicate so much hard work to the program.

Thomas Strickland, a senior mechanical engineering student and public relations lead/brake team leader for Osprey Racing, says Campion’s donation is vital to their team and very much appreciated.

“Campion is a huge proponent of furthering the love of motorsport in schools, getting hands on with building cars and learning all about them. He supports our school very well,” he explained.

This is the fourth consecutive year that APR Energy has contributed to Osprey Racing, and they serve as title sponsor for the team.

“Campion is pretty much responsible for keeping us here,” Strickland said. “That $30,000 goes towards everything from registration, some travel, parts, consumables—the whole car,” Strickland said.

The championship each May marks the end of the that year’s car. It takes almost another full year to design and build a new one.

Photo courtesy of Thomas Strickland.


“The day we get back from Michigan, it’s day one. We take the summer to do a little bit of experimenting on the old car and we get ideas on what we want to do with the new car.”

Strickland explained how the team takes up to around Christmas to continue designing the new car, all while still testing the old one.

“Around January we start really ramping things up for manufacturing. Depending on how well we’re organized, it’ll take about two to three months to actually build the car, and then whatever time we have left from getting the car up and running to competition is 100 percent testing and manufacturing spares,” Strickland continued. “That way, we can get drivers in the car to get more familiar with how it drives [and] get our design lead’s testing data to present to the judges. We have to back up why we run what we do, we have to have actual engineering answers behind it.”

Currently, the team has 15 members on the roster, but Strickland says they’re always looking for more. You don’t have to be an engineering or business student to join the team.

“If you’re willing to work, we’ll take you,” said Strickland. “We’ll teach you everything you need to know.”

For more information, you can find the team on Facebook.

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