See the Possible | Akron Zips Racing Team

AKRON -- A group of college students have already made their mark on the world -- the world of auto racing.

The Akron Zips Racing Team is unique mix of hands-on learning and the thrill of competition. This experience is letting students 'See the possible' in their own future.

"We get to do something really unique. Not a lot of people can say after class they go and work on a race car," said Anna Davis, a member of the Akron Zips Racing Team and a University of Akron student.

The ZR13 is the Akron Zips Racing Formula SAE car. It weighs 350 pounds, generates 56 horse power, and has a top speed of 80 miles an hour. It was designed, built and raced by college students.

"Definitely a rewarding opportunity to be able to sit in something your hands created and driving around a track," said Ryan Kruse, team captain of the Akron Zips Racing Team.

The Zips Racing Team has been around for 20 years. All students are welcome, and no experience is necessary.

"The team is really good with teaching you all the aspects of the car. You just come down and ask tons of questions. Who I'm learning suspension from, he's been really great with teaching me all the math equations behind it," said Davis.

Students spend countless hour in the shop without earning any college credit. But they get a lot out of their passion.

"What this does give us is a great opportunity to gain experience with real world engineering problems," said Kruse.

"How to work as a team, you already have practical problem-solving skills that the text books just can't teach you," said Chris Bergsneider, electrical engineer for the Akron Zips Racing Team.

The team of 25 students compete around the world. They are not only judged on speed, but design and total cost. This year the team achieved their highest ranking ever -- 8th in the world out of 500 teams. Each year a new car is built from the ground up.

"We build 85 percent of it in-house in our machine shop," said Bergsneider.

"We have finalized a lot of our designs already. Hopefully, in the next two weeks, we will be building our frame and by March we will have a running car," said Kruse.

The Zips Racing Team handles all its own funding. A number of area Akron and Cleveland businesses help with building costs.


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