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Texas A&M-Kingsville BAJA Car Team competes at national event

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Baja team

KINGSVILLE (May 15, 2024) — The Texas A&M University Kingsville (TAMUK) Baja Racing Team competed in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International Baja California event from April 25-28 at the Quail Canyon Special Events Arena in Lebec, California.

It was the first time that TAMUK competed in an SAE Baja event since May 28, 2013 at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington.

The TAMUK Baja Team is comprised of Zane Strickland, Eric Perez, Creighton Osornia, Aziel Moreno, Emilio Hernandez and Ian Brewer, six mechanical engineering undergraduate students from the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering who entered a designed and competed with an off-road vehicle that doubled as their senior design project.

Despite being first-time competitors in a competition requiring a vehicle design to meet strict rules, deadlines and budget, the team would go on to finish No. 55 out of 67 registered teams.

“Just the fact that we were able to pass technical inspection was a nearly impossible feat of its own, as we were able to pass before other schools such as Oklahoma State University,” Strickland said. “As a first-year school/team with six members, zero prior experience, limited budget, massive time deficit and lack of resources, we consider this a tremendous success and couldn't be prouder of our project.”

While the team was student-led, it was not without the tutelage of Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering lecturer Rajashekar Mogiligidda, who served as a faculty advisor.

“There are many thanks in order, but first and foremost we would like to extend our thanks to Rajashekar Mogiligidda for his continued support, assistance, and belief in us,” Strickland said. “Without him we would have been lost at the beginning of this ordeal. Thank you, Raj for coming and supporting us at the competition, as well as throughout the last several semesters.”

The field included teams from across North America representing schools like Cornell, Ohio State, Johns Hopkins, Canada’s Ecole de Technologie Superieure and Mexico’s Universidad De La Salle Bajio.

While the cumulative scores resulted in the team finishing at No. 55, the team placed in the top 41 in Suspension and Traction (37th), Hill Climb (38th), Acceleration (38th) and the Endurance Race (41st).

However, being able to pass inspection and compete in the Endurance Race was the team’s main goal as the six-man group was one of the smallest in the field.

“Given the time restraints and our limited budget, the objective of our project was to make it into (the endurance race) and then do our best,” Moreno said. “The overall ranking reflects many aspects of events in which we could not be competitive due to the small size of our team. So, it is (the endurance) event which best reflects what we were able to achieve.”

The team also finished 56th in overall design, 49th in Cost Report and 55th in Business Presentation.

While TAMUK does not have an official SAE Baja Club, one is said to be in the works and Strickland believes competing in this competition has laid a foundation for it.

 “We will be passing the project on to the group after us that are attempting to form the SAE Baja club,” Strickland said. “We hope to see them carry this project on to greatness, and we believe that with the knowledge that we now have, they will be able to truly be in the competitive running soon. We know they can do it and look forward to seeing where they go.”


Category: General Univ , Engineering

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