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.

Then junior Austin Hindman Jr. tossed Osprey Racing Team’s single-seat race car (watch the video) that he, Alex and nine other classmates built around a skidpad, seeking the fastest time around a circle etched in chalk and orange cones.

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.

They left with a lead that eventually turned into a job of a lifetime.

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.


Source: UNF pair make transition from Osprey Racing to 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 […]


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.”


Osprey Racing is participating in Tee It Up for Charity

Osprey Racing is participating in the Tee It Up for Charity event September 18-21 at Dye’s Valley Course! When you purchase a $29 weekly clubhouse ticket, 86% of the proceeds will go directly to us. If you are interested in learning more and supporting our team you can go to […]