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UVU students, industry experts work to break diesel engine land speed record

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Posted at 7:02 PM, Aug 07, 2013
and last updated 2013-08-07 21:02:10-04

OREM, Utah --  Students and teachers at Utah Valley University are working with industry experts on a diesel engine vehicle they hope will break land speed records next week.

The team at UVU is working on a 3200 horsepower streamliner, and next week they will take it to the Bonneville Salt Flats for a shot at setting a land speed record.

UVU Student Trent Jennings said the vehicle is unique.

“I understand the engines real well, but just about everything else is pretty much completely custom,” he said.

Jennings said the chance to work on the Chassis Engineering Special is like taking a doctorate-level course.

“You basically got a inline-12 engine with that crankshaft connecting the two,” he said. “I’ve never see that, never heard of that, so it's been an amazing experience getting to see this.”

The streamliner is basically a rocket on wheels, and it shakes the ground with thunderous force when it revs up. Cameron Schmidt, Utah Diesel Center, said the streamliner is on a different level than most vehicles.

“You don't see this level very often,” he said. “I mean, when you get a chance, you take it, because it's fun. You get to play pretty much with the high horsepower, and try the new products or design new products.”

Michael Savoie, dean of technology and computing at UVU, said the cooperation with those in the industry is a win for the school.

“This is the type of collaboration that we've been working on at the university—to work with industry, have our students be exposed to the cutting edge of what's happening in the industry,” he said.

The Chassis Engineering Special was the first diesel streamliner to break the 300 mph barrier, and the crew is hoping the second engine they’ve added will let them top 400 mph.

Jennings said the chance to work on the vehicle has been wonderful.

“Being able to see what they do, and see this piece of equipment they brought in, is a great experience,” he said.