LAWRENCE, Kan. — NASCAR comes to Kansas Speedway next weekend for the playoffs, but some drivers are already in town.
And on Tuesday NASCAR driver Tyler Reddick took a spin in a formula race car, built by KU’s Jayhawk Motorsports Team.
Reddick normally drives the No. 2 Chevrolet in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series. On Tuesday, he was behind the wheel of Jayhawk Motorsports’ No. 21 Formula SAE race car.
“It’s really cool. Obviously they’re doing things most adults don’t even understand that’ve worked in race cars their whole life,” Reddick said.
It’s a car engineering students built last school year. From original concept to final testing, the automobile took about nine months to complete.
“We take a lot of the fundamentals we learn in the classroom, whether it’s statics, mechanics, dynamics, fluids, heat transfer. We have to apply a lot of those general concepts into the designs,” Jayhawk Motorsports Team Lead Julian Garfield said.
And the car really moves, too.
“So we do 0-60 miles per hour in about 3-3.5 seconds. That’s just about faster than most things you can buy on the street,” Garfield added.
Before the test drive, students took Reddick through the process of how they build their cars — and even got to do a little bragging.
They finished in 2nd and 4th place in two different international racing competitions.
“They’re getting an edge at an early age and an understanding of just things that guys like me never had access to,” Reddick said.
Jayhawk Motorsports is already in the process of designing a new car. They said they’ll be finished by spring time.
In addition to the car being an engineering project the students take part in, it’s also a project in which they manage their own budget, so they depend a lot on sponsors.