The UVic Formula Hybrid Team with their formula hybrid electric race car

The UVic Formula Hybrid Team with their formula hybrid electric race car

UVic hybrid race car off to U.S. competition

Students face university rivals at New Hampshire Motor Speedway for Formula Hybrid Competition

If you hear the sound of rubber burning up the road at the University of Victoria this weekend, chances are third-year mechanical engineering student Ryan Johnston will be behind the wheel.

Johnston and the UVic Hybrid Team will test their new formula hybrid, a race car with a 250 cubic-centimetre dirt bike engine that combines with an electric motor to produce 87 horsepower, in UVic’s Parking Lot No. 1.

“The horsepower is significant because the car only weighs 650 pounds, it can get up to 150 kilometres per hour,” Johnston said.

He is one of four team members (more than 15 put in work) who will race the formula hybrid at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway, April 27 to 30, for the annual Formula Hybrid Competition.

“The expectation is, we hope it holds together,” Johnston said. “We’ve done everything, we fabricated the chassis and drive train, it’s been seven months to this point.”

Getting past the tech inspection will be the hardest part, he said. After that, it’s go time.

The community stepped up with sponsorships and in-kind donations, helping them make the car a reality.

Because it recharges on the fly, the car burns just 7.8 litres per 100 km, an extremely efficient usage of fuel compared in terms of racing.

Johnston and other members of the team previously worked on the UVic Eco Car program, building the regular-use hybrid Malibu.

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(PHOTO: UVic Formula Hybrid Team leader Ryan Johnston will be behind the wheel for the hybrid electric race car’s debut at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway next week, home of the annual Formula Hybrid race started by Dartmouth College.)