UVic's Formula Motorsport team heads to Michigan

- Jenny Manzer

UVic students on the Formula Motorsport team present their vehicle being taken to competition in Michigan.
UVic Formula Motorsport team presents their 2019 vehicle, April 27, 2019. Photo: Armando Tura

UVic’s Formula Motorsport team is off to races after the theft of crucial custom-made parts from the vehicle they built threatened to throw a wrench in their 2019 season.

A donation from the UVic Alumni Association will allow the team to start their engines and pursue their hard-earned goals. The engineering students are now set to race their custom-made car at an annual Formula SAE event at the Michigan International Speedway on May 8, competing against engineering students from around the world.

In April, the team discovered a thief had broken into a trailer on campus and stolen their steering wheel, column, clutch handle and clutch cable. The parts, thought to be worth about $3,000, represented thousands of hours of work by the team. Some parts took years to design.

The students put out a public call for the return of the parts and to help raise funds to replace the needed parts. In a effort to save their season, the students sourced replacement parts but didn’t have the means to pay for them.

"The team has worked hard this year to implement major design changes, including switching to a new engine and smaller wheels,” said the team’s faculty advisor, Stephanie Willerth, a professor of mechanical engineering at UVic. “They have handled this major setback amazingly well given the circumstances, and we have a running car to take our competition in Michigan." 

Hearing of the team’s plight, the UVic Alumni Association donated $2,500 to help pay for the parts. The gift represents the support of UVic’s more than 120,000 alumni.

“We proudly stand behind the team to support their perseverance, team spirit, ingenuity and commitment to excellence—qualities which are the very hallmarks of UVic,” said UVic Alumni Association president Peter Jong.

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In this story

Keywords: engineering, alumni, philanthropy

People: Stephanie Willerth

Publication: The Torch

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