UNF pair make transition from Osprey Racing to Daytona

Source: http://jacksonville.com/sports/2017-01-26/unf-pair-make-transition-osprey-racing-Daytona

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.