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HVM Racing, AREVA, and UNC Charlotte Partner for Senior Design Project

Charlotte, NC (Wednesday, October 24, 2012) – UNC Charlotte Motorsports engineering students wrapped up the first step of their senior design project this weekend when they finished scanning the #78 Nuclear Clean Air Energy Indy car. Three students, Brandon McSwain, Jonathan Brissenden, and Clinton Fields under the supervision of project mentor Dr. Mesbah Uddin, will use the data gathered from the scan to create a 3-D computer model of the car.
The race car, which was used during the entire 2012 IZOD IndyCar season, was delivered to the UNC Charlotte campus on Sunday, October 8. The seniors began work almost immediately with the help of HVM Racing crew member Randy Smay who was on site to disassemble the car as needed for scanning. Each student logged roughly 100 hours during the two weeks that the car was in the campus’ motorsports research lab.
The project came about through collaborative efforts of HVM Racing, their sponsor AREVA, and the Motorsports division of Mechanical Engineering department at UNC Charlotte.
“In the middle of the summer we were approached by UNC Charlotte and AREVA for ideas on senior student programs,” said Tom Brown, technical director for HVM Racing. “Together we provided several ideas, and ways to move forward, on projects that would benefit the students, increase their knowledge and understanding of a particular technical aspect of our business.”
Brown offered several options to Dr. Uddin for consideration before the group decided on the direction the project would take. “A CFD study on how to improve the aero aspects of the front of the car was our main focus,” Brown said. “As engineers we can gain a certain amount of aerodynamic information from windtunnel testing, but CFD offered us the opportunity to look at multiple case studies. The aim is to improve the downforce, reduce the drag at the same time decreasing pitch sensitivity over multiple ride heights and steering angles. Not an easy task. Having the full size car at their disposal allowed the group to scan the actual car, build the models and prepare for the next stage of putting it all together and preparing for the CFD runs.”
Security was tight around the motorsports lab for the two weeks that the Indy car was on campus for the project.
“As a motorsports engineering professor at UNC Charlotte,” Dr. Uddin said, “I always vie to provide my students with a feel of the life in a real racing world. The experience that the three senior design students had during the last two intense weeks while the HVM Nuclear Clean Air Energy Indy racecar was here at UNC Charlotte’s new Motorsports lab, in my opinion, is second to none. The students viewed the opportunity of dismantling an actual racecar and then building its digital model for future analysis as the best one they could ever have as engineering students. This is the first time our program has had the privilege to get involved with the nation’s second most popular racing series.”
“This initiative became a reality only due to the enormous support we received from the managements of both HVM and AREVA,” Uddin continued. “Although AREVA has been one of the most active industrial sponsors of UNC Charlotte’s Senior Design program, we believe that their involvement with our motorsports engineering, a theme that may be viewed as one of the best tools to attract our future engineers to STEM discipline, will add a new dimension to our existing collaboration.”
AREVA was excited to be part of the dynamic that made the project possible.
"Over the years, AREVA and UNC Charlotte have enjoyed a long standing and positive relationship in the Charlotte community,” Matt Dryden, Vice President of Marketing for AREVA, Inc. said. “Furthering that cause, this Senior Design Project, in conjunction with HVM Racing and the Nuclear Clean Air Energy Initiative provides a unique and innovative opportunity to link the classroom with real world application; all while promoting advances in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educational awareness; a key competency the nuclear industry will need replenishing for years to come. Thanks also to HVM for making the Indy car available to the students."
All parties considered the project a success.
“We, at HVM, have been enormously impressed with the skills and dedication of the students and applaud their decision to take on this project,” Brown said. “The facilities the students have, the strength of the UNC Charlotte Engineering department is something HVM are extremely pleased to be associated with. We want to thank AREVA and UNC Charlotte for allowing us to be partners in helping the students work on this project, and hope in the future we can be available to be part of any future endeavors.”
For photos of the project celebration, visit HVM Racing’s Flickr page at: Click Here
About HVM Racing
HVM Racing was founded by Keith Wiggins and is based in Indianapolis, Indiana. The 2012 season marks its eleventh year of competition since forming in 2001. Since its inception, HVM Racing has earned six victories, two pole positions, 22 podiums, 40 top-five finishes and 97 top-tens. The team also earned "Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year" honors with current driver Simona De Silvestro in 2010. HVM finished fourth and third, respectively, in the Champ Car World Series in 2006 and 2007, and earned drivers Mario Dominguez and Robert Doornbos Rookie of the Year honors in 2002 and 2007, respectively. Follow HVM Racing at, on twitter at, and on facebook at
AREVA provides its customers with solutions for low-carbon power generation in North America and all over the world. As the leader in nuclear energy and a significant, growing player in the renewable energies sector, AREVA combines U.S. and Canadian leadership, access to worldwide expertise and a proven track record of performance. Sustainable development is a core component of AREVA’s strategy. Its nearly 5,000 U.S. and Canadian employees work every day to make AREVA a responsible industrial player helping to supply ever cleaner, safer and more economical energy to the greatest number of people. AREVA Inc. is headquartered in Bethesda, Md. For more information visit:
About UNC Charlotte
The University of North Carolina at Charlotte stakes its claim as the state’s urban research university. As the region’s only public doctoral-granting institution, UNC Charlotte is a driving force of growth, discovery and innovation for the greater Mecklenburg Country metropolitan statistical area. With more than 25,000 enrolled students, including roughly 5,000 masters and doctoral candidates, UNC Charlotte is the fourth-largest institution in the UNC system. It leverages its location in the state’s largest city to offer internationally competitive programs of research and creative activity and exemplary undergraduate, graduate and professional programs coupled with a focused set of community engagement initiatives that enrich the region’s quality of life. UNC Charlotte Motorsports is located in the heart of NASCAR country and is the first stop for employers hiring interns and entry level engineers. It is within 50 miles of 90% of the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams and 5 miles from Charlotte Motor Speedway. The program is rigorous and well respected in the automotive and racing industries, and offers one of the most innovative "hands-on" programs available in the U.S., allowing the students to be some of the most qualified applicants in motorsports. The students have the opportunity to learn the theory that will help them on the race track or in an automotive manufacturing facility. They are exposed to some of the most well respected professionals in the racing and automotive industries, adding high level practical experience as a potential part of the training. For more information visit: