WATCH: They had high hopes that they were going to have their best year yet. But in the last stages of building their custom Formula race car, UVic mechanical engineering students are facing a heartbreaking setback. Kori Sidaway has more.
It’s crunch time at UVic’s shop as engineers put in overtime to finish off their 2019 Formula racecar.
“I’ve been up for way too many hours, I’ve not had any sleep yet,” said Nigel Swab, a mechanical engineer with UVic’s Formula Motorsport team.
The racecar is almost all custom-made. Tiny little parts all made from scratch with blood, sweat, and tears.
“This car, it’s the culmination of thousands and thousands of hours over the course of the past 12 months of work,” said UVic’s Formula Motorsport’s project manager Stephen Bradley.
Some parts took three years alone just to design.
And all the preparation is for the annual open-wheel Formula SAE Michigan race that draws engineering students from all over the world.
But these Victoria students’ dreams, are suddenly on the line.
“Yesterday we discovered that a bunch of the components for our car were stolen,” said Bradley.
While working in their shop, just yards away a thief broke into their storage trailer and made away with their whole custom steering system.
“I don’t want to use the cliche of heartbreak. But, so many people have put thousands of hours into this project, like myself, I’ve been working on this for over a year and a half,” said Swab.
And just 12 days before the competition, the loss is devastating.
“We’re running on fumes right now,” said Bradley.
“The count right now is probably over $3,000 worth.”
And now the UVic unit is scrambling to replace parts, with money they don’t actually have.
“It might be worth $3,000 but it’s not worth anything to anybody except for us, because the parts are specifically designed for our car,” said Bradley.
“They can’t really be repurposed or resold in any significant way.”
But there are not tears in racing.
“We just want the parts back no questions asked,” said Bradley.
And the countdown is on. The racecar will be towed to Michigan, whether it’s running or not, come Saturday.
“We’re going to go regardless if the car is driving or not. We have 20 members who have already booked their flight to Michigan,” said Bradley.
The flag drops May 8th in the 2019 Formula SAE Michigan. If people would like to donate to help the engineering students cover their costs, they can do so here.