On Oct. 18, visitors to Murray Chevrolet at the Waverley Auto Mall had the opportunity to view the University of Manitoba faculty of engineering’s current Formula-type race car.
“I know one of the students who worked on the vehicle,” says Murray Chevrolet president Dan Murray. “We helped out with the funding. The students essentially did all the work themselves. This was an opportunity for the students to show off their work.”
Every year, a team of University of Manitoba engineering students compete with students from other universities throughout North America and Europe in building and racing a formula-type car.
Last year, the U of M entry finished 41st in a field of 120 models in the running, reports fifth-year engineering student Kevin Mazur.
“We are competing against some teams, especially European teams, that have really large budgets,” he said. “This was the first time in the five years that I have been on the team that our car hasn’t broken down.”
Mazur notes 30 U of M students worked on this year’s Formula SAE vehicle.
The rule is that the students have to build a new car every year.
“Most other teams use a steel frame,” he said. “Boeing gave us carbon-fibre material, which makes for reduced weight and increased rigidity.”
The U of M team used a 3D printer to produce pieces for the body and the students built the dashboard and controls with off-the-shelf parts.
“Our car is designed to be adjustable,” Mazur said. “Our drivers range in height from 5-foot-4 to 6-foot-4.”
Each team has to have four designated drivers, and Mazur is one of them.
The students test drove the vehicle at the Michigan National Speedway, which is about a 30-minute drive west of Detroit. Mazur says the engineering students are currently fine-tuning their 2017 model — while at the same time finishing their design for the 2018 vehicle.
Pinnacle Collision Centre opens
Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg’s new, 18,000-square-foot body shop is open for business.
“We began fixing dents on Monday,” said Jerry Castellano, the new Pinnacle Collision Centre’s collision operations manager. “This is the only Mercedes-Benz certified collision repair centre in Manitoba. But we can repair all makes and models.”
The new structure — which is next door to the main Winnipeg Mercedes-Benz dealership at 23 Rothwell Rd., just a couple of blocks south of IKEA — had been under construction since late last fall. The decision to build the new auto-body facility, said Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg’s president, Brian Lowes, grew out of the dealership’s rapidly increasing sales.
“Our sales have more than doubled over the past five years,” he said. “We felt there was a need to be able to provide this additional level of customer service.”
The Pinnacle Collision Centre has 15 work bays (plus a special bay for Sprinters, the Mercedes-Benz line of delivery vans, a paint booth, two paint preparation stations and two wash bays. The building will also house a fully equipped parts department, while the second-floor offices will be occupied by Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg’s business development people.
Among the new building’s highlights are a completely enclosed, two-car drive-thru for estimates and vehicle delivery.
“We designed Pinnacle with winter conditions in mind,” Castellano says.
The Pinnacle Collision Centre is beginning with a staff of 12.
“Our technicians are being trained in Germany,” Castellano says.
“We are able to send one technician to the Mercedes-Benz training facility every four months.”
He adds that Pinnacle’s production co-ordinator, Denis Kushchev, worked for Mercedes-Benz in Russia for several years before coming to Winnipeg.
“We have had really positive feedback,” says Ryan Borton, Mercedes-Benz Winnipeg’s operations manager, of the customer response to the new body shop. “We have already booked several appointments.
“We appreciate that our customers have invested time and money in our products. So we want to provide service that goes above and beyond. At the end of the day, we aim to provide our customers with the best service possible.”
Dealer of the week
Sales Rep: Dave Hallock
Dealership: Gerry Gordon Mazda
No. of Years: 12
Favourite Model:2018 Mazda CX-9
Why: “I like the style and versatility,” Hallock says of the CX-9. “The fit and finish are on par with more-expensive luxury models.”