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Nova Students Prepping For Collegiate Racing Competition

(Credit: Mike Dougherty)

(Credit: Mike Dougherty)

Mike Dougherty Mike Dougherty
Mike is a general assignment reporter and editor for KYW Newsradio...
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By Mike Dougherty

VILLANOVA, Pa. (CBS) – Engineering students at Villanova are making final adjustments on the race car they built ahead of an international competition next weekend.

Students in the Formula SAE club have a passion for speed, and they spent countless hours in the last year building this car from the ground up.

“All the welding, all the machining, all the assembly, we do it in our garage space in the basement of the engineering building,”  team captain Albert Montemuro said.

He and 30 other students, with a little help from a faculty advisor, built everything on the car aside from the tires, wheels and engine. The engine is a 600cc motor from a Suzuki R6 motorcycle only has about 80 horsepower, but it will propel this 425 pound menace from 0-60 in 3 seconds — that’s faster than a Ferrari — and it has a top speed of about 110mph.

More impressive than its acceleration is its ability to hug corners like a Formula 1 supercar.

“Because we’re so light, we can pull 1.5-1.7Gs in a turn,” he said. Motorheads know that type of handling is borderline absurd.

The competition is stiff. More than 120 schools will be represented at Michigan International Speedway.

“There’s teams that come over from abroad, from Austria and Germany, that have huge budgets,” Montemuro said. “Their team is PhD students, their team captain is a kid who has been on the team for 10 years.”

The Wildcats are not backing down while trying to keep things in perspective.

“Obviously we want to win. We want to win as many things as we can, but the realistic goal is top 20.”

There are four racing events: A 100 meter dash, a timed figure 8, an autocross event, and a 22 kilometer endurance race. Montemuro says their main goal is just to finish all four races.

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