Courtesy of Villanova FSAE

Austin Weber

Villanova Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) is a student- led club consisting of 25 individuals and is advised by faculty advisor Dean Gabriele and Assistant Engineering Director Gayle Doyle. 

Villanova Formula SAE has been working since the beginning of the school year on a formula one style vehicle that they designed and will race against vehicles from other universities.  

“The goal of the competition is to design, build and compete a single-seat open wheel formula one style racecar every year from scratch,” Nick Kallan, the marketing lead for the Villanova Formula SAE team, said. “The project takes almost an entire year to complete. Our design season takes place from June to October, our manufacturing season takes place from October to March and from March to May is testing.” 

The construction on this year’s car is complete and it is currently on display in the Bartley Hall entryway before the team takes it to competition.  

This project caters to engineering students as it is a great way for them to utilize and hone the skills that they are learning in the classroom, but it is also attracts business and arts students. 

“This experience is our first opportunity to be on a long-term engineering project and be fortunate enough to see from start to finish,” Kallan said.  “Every engineer on the team has an opportunity to be a design engineer, manufacturing engineer and test engineer. Also, each team member gains valuable management and leadership experience.”

The team will be taking their vehicle to the Michigan International Speedway to compete against 119 teams from around the world. There will be  universities from across the country represented as well as teams from universities all over the world including teams from Germany, Austria, South Korea and Singapore.   

“Last year, we placed 24th out of 120,” Kallan said when asked about what he expects from this year’s car. “While we were very pleased with the results, we are always striving to perform better. This season, we are aiming for a top 15 finish at Michigan.” 

After completion of the competition phase, the Formula SAE team will regroup and begin work on next year’s vehicle. However, this is not without reflection on the previous year’s work. 

“The results, along with notes and documentation from the year will drive the high-level concept of the next vehicle,” Kallan said. “The lessons learned from the prior car will feedback into the new car.” 

After graduation, many Villanova Formula SAE members put the skills they have learned to use in the automotive and aerospace industries, while others take the management and design skills they have learned and pursue careers in business or consulting. 

This project is a great way for engineering and non-engineering students alike to get great hands-on experience that will be helpful in a myriad of careers.