UW-Madison students seek international race car victory

RACINE — Mechanical engineering students from UW-Madison are taking their book work off the page and onto the track for an international race car competition for college students.

“The goal is to win,” said Alex Gehrke, Wisconsin Formula SAE Racing team technical director.

Gehrke is graduating in two weeks and has an internship at SpaceX in California this summer, but right now he’s got some serious work to do with his team, testing their prototype at Racine-based Modine Manufacturing Co.

The WR-217, as it’s known, is a composite carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb laminated structure over a turbo-charged Yamaha YZ450F single cylinder motorcycle engine.

“In my experience running the car, it’s very different than anything you’ve ever driven before,” Gehrke said.

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