UOW Motorsports team competing at Formula SAE-A

HOLLIE: Zach Shaw at the helm of the race car, with a 600CC Honda engine, designed and built by a University of Wollongong club to compete at Calder Park Raceway this December. Picture: Adam McLean
HOLLIE: Zach Shaw at the helm of the race car, with a 600CC Honda engine, designed and built by a University of Wollongong club to compete at Calder Park Raceway this December. Picture: Adam McLean

This week will see a collective of University of Wollongong students roll up to Calder Park Raceway in Melbourne with winning on their minds.

Their carefully designed race car named Hollie will battle it out in a competition of speed, skill and design against 37 other teams who hail from as far as India, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan and New Zealand.

This will be the 16th car designed and built by the UOW Motorsports club (formerly known as UOW FSAE) to be entered into the Formula SAE-A Australasian competition.

Team principal David Patrech said if they do well the vehicle could go to Europe or the US for other events, while some of the team could be offered a job with a global firm.

“Tesla and Bowing will often really target graduates from these teams,” Mr Patrech said.

It can definitely be a war of attrition, not all cars finish.

David Patrech

“We’ve all gotten a bunch of emails from Tesla and they’re going to be down recruiting at the competition ... because they see the quality of graduates the competition produces with hands on experience.”

The team of 64 hail from all five university faculties, each bringing expertise in different areas such as business management, contract law or engineering and have a passion for cars.

“I joined up in the beginning of 2014. It’s a project which I could really sink my teeth into, a really big challenge with a really big payoff at the end, going to compete in Melbourne,” Mr Patrech said.

He said the competition is not only about speed or how much each team has spent but each judged on a 1000 point system including fuel efficiency, design, business acumen and performance.

At Calder Park the UOW team’s carefully selected drivers - most from at least a go-karting background - will undertake various courses.

This includes darting around cone markers to test suspension, a 75 metre dash testing acceleration and an endurance run of 22 kilometres with speeds reaching up to 140km/h.

HOLLIE: The race car, with a 600CC Honda engine, designed and built by a University of Wollongong club to compete at Calder Park Raceway. Picture: Adam McLean

HOLLIE: The race car, with a 600CC Honda engine, designed and built by a University of Wollongong club to compete at Calder Park Raceway. Picture: Adam McLean

“It can definitely be a war of attrition, not all cars finish the endurance race,” Mr Patrech said.

“You do have some pretty dramatic failures … so wheels will come off, that sort of thing. At the end of the day it is university students making race cars so something is bound to go wrong.”

In the past, UOW has had nine podium finishes at the Australasian event.

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