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SAE team tops mini-Baja nighttime endurance race

November 10th, 2008

University of Louisville engineering students bested their competitors in a four-hour endurance race for mini-Baja vehicles Nov. 8. The UofL student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) was host to the event they called Midnight Mayhem.

UofL’s number 30 car topped the 16-car field, while the UofL number 19 car placed within the top 10, said Ben Myser, a senior mechanical engineering student from Union, Ky.

“We knew the track pretty well,” Myser said, but “we never expected to win the whole thing.”

“It was our coming out, in a way,” he said, signaling the end of mechanical problems that have plagued the team and the beginning of “something special. If we can compete against those teams, we can do some things no other SAE team at UofL has done.”

Eleven universities from Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Alabama and Canada took part in the event, which organizers think is the first nighttime race in the 30-year history of mini-Baja racing.

The Ohio State team placed second, while a team from Windsor, Canada, was third.

The SAE Mini Baja team is a recognized student organization. Students participate in three regional competitions with cars they design. Engineering team members and a communication student raise funds for, manage, design, build, test and race their mini-Baja vehicles, “pretty much A-to-Z,” Myser said.

The UofL race was unsanctioned SAE event, but Myser said UofL would like to host a sanctioned event in the near future. In the meantime, he noted that SAE would like Midnight Mayhem to become an annual tradition.

“It was really fun,” he said. “We’ve had a lot of positive feedback.”

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