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Nova Racing Places in Top 20 at Michigan International Speedway

By Carina Silvermoon ’19 CLAS

Nova Racing Places in Top 20 at Michigan International Speedway

Despite the dreary weather and harrowing Michigan cold, Nova Racing’s performance at the Formula SAE competition at Michigan International Speedway in May was an exciting success. Each year, the participating teams are challenged to build a race car from scratch. The car is then put through a series of rigorous tests and examinations, culminating in an endurance race where the vehicle must do a certain number of laps around a section of the racetrack. This year the Nova Racing car, VUX, placed 17th overall, its best result to date (in 2015, VU07 placed 18th).

Nothing can quite describe the feeling of watching our car compete in and finish the endurance race, one that many cars each year are unable to finish. We are exceedingly proud of our statistics (we placed in the top 10 in the Acceleration event for the third year in a row, 17th in the design event, 22nd in Skidpad, and, thanks to our rising business team, 22nd in the Business presentation), but watching the endurance race was one of the moments I will remember best. As we all sat in the back of a pickup truck with a tent pitched over it to keep us out of the rain, the stress of the previous days melted away, and the entire team cheered and hollered as VUX came around the track. At that moment, the numbers didn’t matter so much as the fact that we had made it, and our car was zipping around the track in its bright Villanova colors. Although the journey was long and often difficult, the Nova Racing team was succeeding in Michigan, and none of us could have been prouder.

Nova Racing Places in Top 20 at Michigan International Speedway
Nova Racing Places in Top 20 at Michigan International Speedway

This year’s competition was made even more exciting because of the amazing, young team members we have the privilege of working with. Our young drivers performed extremely well, and our freshmen displayed a capability and ingenuity that ensure that the coming years' teams and competitions will be ones to look forward to.

The team is proud of all its members, and as such we are eager to get started on next year’s car. It will be the first year that Nova Racing’s car includes an aerodynamic package as part of a redesigned chassis, with the goal of placing in the top 10 at 2019's competition. We will also be using an upgraded carbon fiber process and working on engine tuning and launch control.

As excited as I am to continue working with the team next year, I keep returning to the memory of standing with this year’s Nova Racing team at the Michigan International Speedway finish line. We all crowded together for pictures, freezing in our team t-shirts, and it was clear to me how lucky we all are to have competed together as the Villanova Formula SAE team.

Photos courtesy of Louis Hamilton.

To find out more, contact Team Captain James Morgan at

Nova Racing is: Aarya Deb, Andrew Feiner, Benjamin Hollinger, Brent Studenroth, Bridget Lasala, Carina Silvermoon, Carleton Ward, Christopher Auslanderm Devin McCartney, Donald Pontrelli, Harrison Freon, James Britt, John Flynn, Justin Pellis, Kathleen Hirthler, Louis Hamilton, Michael Henry, Mitchell Hause, Nicholas Kallan, Peter Dethlefs, Timothy Kubista, and Trevor Murray.