This weekend’s Pod Rods has some winning news for local student racers; a police car you can’t get away from; some BMW concepts; and an update on the Great Race only one month away.
Plus there’s news on other car events, right here in Pod Rods:
— They came, they competed against 129 colleges from across the world, and they flew away with 48th place for the Osprey Racing Team, its best finish in six years of competition in the annual Formula SAE competition at Michigan International Speedway. The University of North Florida student engineering team’s SwoopD6 — the name of its single-seat school-built race car — have its best finish and best score in team history at the 38th SAE competition two weeks ago, and finished all track events with two drivers. Osprey Racing also came in third among the seven Florida colleges who competed May 10 to 12 in acceleration, braking and handling tests as well as a 22-kilometer endurance run. Last year, it finished 102nd out of 115 schools, behind the University of Florida’s ninth place, University of Central Florida’s 31st and Florida Atlantic University’s 33rd. Germany’s Universitat Stuttgart was first.
The SAE competition started in 1979 to challenge student engineers to design, build and drive a race car that can withstand technical inspection, racing and a 13-mile endurance run. The UNF team also outperformed established teams from Clemson and Purdue universities.
— Britain’s Isle of Man is known for a grueling series of annual motorcycle races that test rider and machine on narrow country lanes with rocky walls nearby. Now anyone who races its streets – but not during the race – could face the equivalent of a 4-wheeled-motorcycle driven by the local constabulary. It’s the Briggs Automotive Company (BAC) Mono police car, the world’s only single-seater, road-legal supercar. A first for the Isle of Man police force, the supercar is now an active member of the fleet and will also be on show at a number of local festivals to encourage safe and responsible driving. The Mono was launched in 2011, with BAC using teh Isle of Man’s winding roads to explore and develop necessary changes to its creation. The BAC team recently descended on the picturesque island for a special Mono Experience Weekend, with 12 Monos running and racing on the roads with government permission. Isle of Man Police Constable, an advanced driver, police motorcyclist and collision investigator, is the force’s dedicated Mono driver.
“It’s a remarkable vehicle, and clearly will be of huge interest to bikers and car drivers alike,” he said. “We are here to promote safe use of the road, and it’s amazing how many people want to talk to you when this is your transport.”
Greaves said his use of the Mono will “spread the good word on road safety and keep drivers both interesting and entertained.”
— BMW is using the upcoming Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Italty to unveil two new concepts.
One is its latest vision of zero-emission urban mobility on two wheels: the Motorrad Concept Link. The electric scooter uses flat energy packs in the underfloor and a compact drive on the rear wheel to result in a low-slung, stretched body and flat seat combined with the diagonally rising front section create a modern yet distinctive silhouette. The front trim is done in Liquid Metal Titanium, contrasting with the semi-matt black body. The scooter’s name also means something – it’s connected, with MPH, electric range and navigation projected on a head-up display in its windscreen, and another display for other functions. Buttons on the handlebars are like a mobile keyboard for frequently used functions.. A video showing all its features is here.
BMW Group is also using Concorso to unveil the BMW Concept 8 Series, revealing that the coupe “will serve as a taster of a forthcoming BMW model” slated for a 2018 launch, the company says. BMW says its NUMBER ONE > NEXT strategy sees it aiming to “significantly increase sales and revenues in the luxury class,” and the 8 Series Coupe plays an important role here.
“The number 8 has always represented the pinnacle of sports performance and exclusivity at BMW,” explains Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG Harald Krüger. “The forthcoming BMW 8 Series Coupe will demonstrate that razor-sharp dynamics and modern luxury can go hand-in-hand. This will be the next model in the expansion of our luxury-car offering and will raise the benchmark for coupes in the segment. In the process, we will strengthen our claim to leadership in the luxury class.”
—The Chinese company that owns Volvo now has a majority share in Britain’s venerable Lotus sports car company. Geely says is plans to “unleash the full potential of Lotus Cars and bring it into a new phase of development by expanding and accelerating the rolling out of new products and technologies.” That includes designing the replacement for the mid-engine two-seat Elise sports car, the mainstay of the company since 1994. That also includes expanding its two-car range — variants of the Elise and V-6 Evora — to include a sport utility vehicle like many other carmakers like Alfa Romeo, Maserati and Bentley have done. Lotus Cars only sold 1,607 cars in the 2015-16 financial year, according to Autoweek, down from 2,015 the year before. Geely revived Volvo Cars and also owns the London Taxi Company.
— Mercedes-AMG celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, and its new GT C Coupe will be available exclusively as a special Edition 50 model as the GT and AMG GT S are being visually and technically upgraded while receiving even more power.
“We are now expanding our portfolio of sports cars to six models plus the AMG GT3 customer sport racing car,” says Tobias Moers, Chairman of the Board of Mercedes-AMG. “In fewer than three years, the second vehicle to be developed by us entirely in-house has grown into a family, offering a highly dynamic driving experience in a variety of forms. We are kicking off our anniversary year with the exclusive ‘Edition 50’ model of the new AMG GT C Coupe. We are also taking this opportunity to refine the AMG GT and AMG GT S, both visually and technically,”
All new 2018 models in the AMG GT family are now identifiable by the distinctive AMG Panamericana grill with 15 chrome-plated vertical bars which echo the look of the latest Mercedes-AMG GT3 customer sport racing car. The special ’ Edition 50’ model to mark the landmark year of the company, which was founded in 1967 and will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2017. The U.S. Edition 50 model will see 50 AMG GT C Coupes and 50 AMG GT C Roadsters in a special Graphite Grey Magno. To give the exterior a distinctive look, black chrome highlights are applied to the side skirt trim, front splitter, trim strips in the air inlets of the Panamericana grille, fins on the side air outlets in the front fenders, the molding on the rear diffuser and exhaust tailpipe trims. The surface of the cross-spoke AMG forged wheels has been harmonized with the black chrome elements of the exterior. A unique “Edition 50” badge adorns the rear of this model. The interior is trimmed in nappa leather in silver pearl/black with grey diamond-patterned contrasting topstitching, plus black AMG Performance steering wheel.
— Big news in Zuffenhausen this week: The one-millionth Porsche 911 rolled off the production line – a Carrera S in the special “Irish Green” color, with numerous features following the original 911 from 1963. Porsche says the two-door car remains the most important model in its product range. Wolfgang Porsche, chairman of the supervisory board of Porsche AG, has also been part of the development of the 911 since day one. Porsche says more than 70 percent of all of its cars ever built are still ready to drive today. And more than half of Porsche’s 30,000-plus race wins can be credited to the iconic 911 — all built at the headquarters in Zuffenhausen. FYI: That one-millionth 911 will not be sold. Before it moves on to the Porsche Museum, it will embark on a world tour and take road trips in the Scottish Highlands, around the Nürburgring and in the USA, China, and beyond.
— Sportscar Vintage Racing Association has reached an agreement with FloRacing to present live video coverage of the Brickyard Invitational at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway during Father’s Day Weekend, June 16-18.
“This is another important step forward as we extend the influence of the SVRA brand and create value for our sponsors, build a consumer fan base, and tell our story of compelling racing and the motorsports festival experience,” said Tony Parella, SVRA president and CEO. “Our sponsor investors and motorsports industry influencers I have spoken with recognize the increasing impact of Web-delivered streaming coverage of sports and news.”
The FloRacing announcement comes as the SVRA expands its events, having held vintage races at Fernandina Beach airport the weekend after last year and this year’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance events in March. It also held its first hill climb near the “Tail of the Dragon” roadway in Western North Carolina as well as an new oval track format for a two-weekend extravaganza at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – which includes the fourth annual Brickyard Invitational. And Sportscar Vintage Racing Association and Harley-Davidson announced this week that the iconic motorcycle manufacturer is now the Official Motorcycle of the SVRA.
— Like we said, each March, the Amelia Island Concours brings 300-plus classic and race cars to the grassy greens outside the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island. But concours founder and chairman Bill Warner likes to drive what he shows, and last weekend, he and Paul Gould competed in the 2017 Mille Miglia, a 1,000-kilometer rally between Brescia and Rome, then back again, for classic cars. It recreates a grueling around-Italy road race held from 1927 to 1957, but without the racing speeds.
This year, Warner and Gould competed in the vintage rally in a behind the wheel of a 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Zagato as one of 460 registered competitors. Their Alfa joined three from the factory museum – a 1930 6C 1750 Gran Sport, 1938 6C 2300 Mille Miglia and 1956 1900 Super Sprint. Alfa won the venerable road race in the day 11 times. This year, the 1930 Alfa driven by Andrea Vesco and Andrea Guerini won. The event has not published a list of finishers.
— Dan Kruse Classics is partnering with Flat Twelve Gallery for an auction on Saturday in Midland, Texas that featur3es sokme interesting star cars, from Elvis Presley’s Jeep in the film, “Tickle Me,” to a 1999 Buell Motorcycle from “Ghost Rider” that was ridden by actor Nicolas Cage. There are also two custom motorcycles from 2011’s “Priest” starring Paul Bettany, including a futuristic reskinned 2009 Suzuki Gladius 650, built by Cinema Vehicle Services and Ghostlight Industries and designed by Patrick Faulwetter. Dan Kruse Classics will also offer several other classic vehicles which include a 2009 Lotus Exige S26 Sport formally owned and specially ordered in Kawasaki Green by comedian Jerry Seinfeld, some of the 175 collectible vehicles to cross the auction block Memorial Day weekend.
— Dodge says it is the fastest street-legal car in the world. Now the Dodge Challenger SRT Demon, with 840 horsepower and 770 pound-feet of torque, has a suggest retail price of $84,995 (including $1,700 gas guzzler tax; excluding $1,095 destination). And Dodge says customers can get the personalized and serialized Demon Crate with components that unleash the Challenger SRT Demon’s full horsepower at the drag strip for $1 more. The Demon is, Dodge says, the first-ever, factory-production car with driver’s seat only. A front passenger seat is also available for $1, with a rear seat available in leather or cloth for another $1. It is the first-ever front-wheel lift in production car as certified by Guinness World Records, and the world’s fastest quarter-mile production car with an elapsed time (ET) of 9.65 seconds and 140 miles per hour as certified by the National Hot Rod Association.
—The Historic Springfield Main Street Cruise rumbles down Jacksonville’s Main Street from 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, June 24, centered at the Historic Springfield Krystal at 2023 N. Main St. The cruise is part of a big car day as the Hemmings Motor News Great Race presented by Hagety leaves Jacksonville and heads through Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana and Michigan to finish July 2 in Traverse City during its Cherry Festival. “Big Daddy” Don Garlits is the Grand Marshal for the Great Race car rally. And big news: The iconic local rock and roll band, Mouse and the Boys, has recorded a song about the upcoming Great Race. The band’s song can be heard at youtube.com/watch?v=BGqjaufRuCo&feature=share.
For information an all the events occurring locally surrounding the Great Race, check out its Facebook page at facebook.com/events/1876248879265869. For more information in the Great Race, which has made three previous stops to Jacksonville in recent years, go to greatrace.com.
The holiday weekend is a bit quiet as far as car events, other than the Main Street cruise and a car show. But our weekly calendar has lots of stuff coming:
— There’s a new, permanent autocross facility called “The Gauntlet” in the southwest parking lot at Regency Square Mall, 9501 Arlington Expressway. And you can check it out in action from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 10, as the North Florida Corvette Association hold its autocross there. Open to Corvette club members, it is $50 per car. Only Corvettes with closed exhaust are allowed, with a 50-car limit. All drivers must have new approved helmets. Seven low-speed events will be held. For information on The Gauntlet and upcoming autocrosses being held by area car clubs and organizations, visit its website at gauntletjax.com.
n Murray Hill Presbyterian Car Show: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. SaturdayMay 27 at 940 Talbot Ave. Free for spectators and $20 per show vehicle.
n Sixth annual Corvette Car Show: 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 3, at Riverside Chevrolet at 3494 Philips Highway. Free for spectators and $30 for Corvette show cars.
n Informal cruise-in: 7 to 9 a.m. every Saturday in Mandarin near Panera Bread in the Riverplace Shopping Center, 11111 San Jose Blvd.
n Historic Main Street Cruise: 4 to 9 p.m. Saturday, centered at the Historic Springfield Krystal at 2023 N. Main St.
n Dancing in the Streets: 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday in the 900 block of St. Johns Avenue in downtown Palatka, sponsored by the Azalea City Cruisers.
n Cars & Coffee Indoors: 8 to 10:30 a.m. Sunday at Vaughn Motorgroup, 11350 San Jose Blvd.
n Amelia Cruisers: 5 to 8 p.m. each third and fifth Saturday at Dick’s Wings And Grill, 474313 Florida A1A in Yulee.
n Sunshine State Chevelles: 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 2. at Freddy’s Burgers at 386 Blanding Blvd. in Orange Park.
Send information on automotive and motorcycle events to firstname.lastname@example.org or Dan Scanlan, Florida Times-Union, 1 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville FL 32202.
Albin Alex snugged up his harness, then pushed SwoopD6’s Honda motorcycle engine hard as the college senior whipped off some acceleration runs up and down the University of North Florida’s parking lot 17 Sunday afternoon.
The drivers’ blue driving suits were visible inside the racecar’s naked tube-frame as it sped past student construction manager Hunter Barkentin and his smartphone’s stopwatch. The car will have to work flawlessly when they compete Thursday and Friday against 129 colleges from across the world in the 38th annual Formula SAE competition at Michigan International Speedway.
“I am very nervous. But at the same time, after seeing the car compete, I am confident,” Barkentin said as the car, soon to receive its body, circled him.
Albin, who redesigned SwoopD6’s seat, said Osprey Racing is the “perfect fit” for an engineering student like him.
“I am a race fan and I like Formula 1,” he said after his stint, pleased at how his redesigned seat was working. “… It’s all fun. I love working on cars. I love driving cars. I’d like to go into racing, maybe join a Formula One team, the dream job.”
The SAE competition started in 1979 to challenge student engineers to design, build and drive a race car that can withstand technical inspection, racing and a 13-mile endurance run. This will be Osprey Racing’s sixth time at the competition, which SAE International says is designed to provide “real-world challenges” for college engineering students.
Along with designing the car, each school team must deliver a comprehensive business case to convince a fictional manufacturing firm that theirs is the best design. The team and car also compete in acceleration, braking and handling tests. The car’s durability and fuel economy also are measured during a 22-kilometer endurance run.
Former student Justin Tussey started Osprey Racing in 2010 so University of North Florida engineering students could compete. The first car was designed in school, then built with $25,000 in donations and a used motorcycle engine. The latest SwoopD, built on a new frame according to rules, weighs 466 pounds with a newer 85-horsepower Honda CBR600RR engine, more upright seat for driver comfort and redesigned fuel tank.
Last year Osprey Racing finished 102nd out of 115 schools, behind the University of Florida’s ninth place, University of Central Florida’s 31st and Florida Atlantic University’s 33rd. Germany’s Universitat Stuttgart was first. In 2015 Osprey Racing finished 60th, better than its 82nd place in 2014. They plan to do “better than last year,” Barkentin said.
“We are looking pretty strong,” he said. “… This is the most testing we have ever been able to do throughout the year or before competition.”
The team, with assistant professor John Nuszkowski, made the 2,000-mile trip to the event after paying a $2,250 registration fee. The team has received help from veteran racecar driver Tommy Riggins, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and a $2,000 donation from local car collector John Campion to buy two newer engines, Barkentin said.
Dan Scanlan: (904) 359-4549
Check out some Osprey Racing alumni doing great things at Daytona!
DAYTONA BEACH | Twins Nick and Sky Squillace brought an education from the University of North Florida and skills learned in the school’s Osprey Racing Club and $15 each for admission to last year’s preseason sports car test at the Daytona International Speedway.
The Squillaces dodged exotic prototypes and GT sports cars in the busy garage area as they handed out resumes and shook hands. Many seemed uninterested, the brothers said, but one, legendary racing manufacturer Bill Riley, was eager to hear their sales pitch.
“We went out [to Daytona] to sell ourselves,” Sky said. “We tried to network with everyone. Bill [Riley] talked to us and took our portfolios. He told us to stay in touch. We left a lot of messages in the next eight or nine months, and we eventually got called up [to North Carolina] to see the shop.
“We’ve been working here since.”
The Squillaces will return to Daytona for this weekend’s Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. This time, they will have team credentials with Riley Technologies, along with a vested interest in three prototypes – the Nos. 55 and 70 Mazda DPis and the No. 90 Gibson V8-powered Multimatic/Riley.
“Our fingerprints are all over those cars,” Nick said.
The brothers earned degrees in mechanical engineering at North Florida. But it wasn’t until they joined Osprey Racing that they developed an interest in racing.
“When we joined the club, I found a connection between what I liked to do and something I could put into practice,” Sky said. “It was nice to take something and actually put it to work. It was real experience.”
Osprey Racing was created in 2010 to allow students to build cars for competition in the Formula SAE college design series. John Nuszkowski, UNF assistant professor of engineering and Osprey Racing advisor, said the Squillaces took the program to an elite level when they were named co-captains.
“They were a huge part of this club,” Nuszkowski said. “They took us to a higher level. A light seemed to turn on when they joined the club. They were OK students in the classroom, but once they got in our club they became superstars.”
Nick said Osprey Racing allowed him to turn what he learned in class into practical applications.
“It wasn’t theoretical,” he said. “You actually get your hands dirty.”
Sky works in the development department where he helps compose plans for the parts and pieces. Nick takes those plans and helps create those parts. The majority of parts on all three cars are built in-house.
“Sky is more on the modeling side; I’m more in the manufacturing side,” Nick said.
Riley, which has created the winning chassis for 10 victories in the 24-hour race on Daytona’s 3.56-mile road course, is working with two cars that are slightly different. One prototype mirrors the LMP2 division used at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The other is a new DPi.
Currently the only difference between a DPi car like the Mazdas and the LMP2 like the Multimatic/Riley are specific body parts and engines. Realistically, it’s possible to make minor adjustments to either class to be eligible at both Daytona and Le Mans. For example, the Mazdas could be rolled into the LMP2 class by replacing from front nose pieces and changing to the Gibson engine.
Different cars and rules created extra opportunities at Riley. The Squillaces, who started the process with a $15 entry fee into the Daytona infield, put themselves at the right place, at the right time.
A Jacksonville business executive and car collector donated $30,000 to the University of North Florida’s Osprey Racing Team, who annually design and build a race car to compete against other colleges in the annual national Formula SAE championship.
APR Energy Chairman and CEO John Campion, whose company is also a team title sponsor, presented the donation to Dean Mark Tumeo at a Wednesday ceremony with the 5-year-old team and its latest race car at the University Center Board of Trustees Room.
The Society of Automotive Engineers competition started in 1979 to challenge student engineers to design, build and drive a race car that can withstand technical inspection, racing and a 13-mile endurance run. Racing team president Peter Bohn heads a 20-member student organization operated through the UNF College of Computing, Engineering and Construction. They compete each May against more than 100 other school teams at Michigan International Speedway.
“It is wonderful to see the passion within this team and the hard work each member puts into this program year in and out,” Campion said. “I thank each of you for the opportunity to let me give back to something that brings joy to myself, my wife and our community.”