Western’s Baja SAE race team is preparing for its next competition in California next May, as they celebrate and learn from a second-place finish at a race in Kentucky.
The team of eight Western Engineering students competed against 100 cars, built by teams from more than 70 universities from across North America, in a four-hour endurance race of hill-climbs and maneuverability.
Matthew Margittay drove the vehicle through 52 laps for a second-place finish, narrowly defeated by the University of Wisconsin team, which completed 53 laps.
“We all felt surprised and excited beyond words,” said team captain Daniel Weigert. “We went into the competition with the expectation of finishing similar to how we have in the past – we are usually in the top 30 of the overall competition.”
Many cars did not survive the rigours of the race and broke down before the four-hour time limit.
The team had earlier decided to retire this vehicle as they begin to build and use a new car for the prestigious Baja SAE race in California in May 2019.
“We knew that this was the last headline race for our car, so we went into the endurance race with no fear of breaking any parts,” Weigert said. “We drove aggressively, which allowed us to achieve the best Western has ever placed at a race.”
“The amount of time that goes into the car is immeasurable,” said Weigert. “You lose track of how much time actually gets put into designing and manufacturing the car.”
The eight team members who attended the competition: Daniel Weigert, captain; Marcus Dottermann and Mike Avrakh, brakes co-captains; Matthew Margittay, driver and suspension co-captain; Ryan Wood and Karam Sadek, drive train co-captains; Andrew Dwyre suspension team member; and Shayaan Syed Ali, DAQ captain. All are Mechanical Engineering students except Ali, who studies Software Engineering.
Sponsors are Western Engineering, Western USC, VR3 Engineering, Xtreme Toys London and Snowline Sports.