Western Baja SAE race team earns 2nd place in Louisville competition


Western Engineering News | November 13, 2018

On the weekend of October 13, 2018, eight students from the Western Baja SAE race team headed down to Louisville, Kentucky to participate in the 10th annual Louisville Midnight Mayhem exhibition race hosted by the University of Kentucky.

The competition was comprised of a short hill-climb task and a short maneuverability task, where the results dictated the starting line-up for the four-hour endurance race lasting from 8:00 p.m. – 12:00 a.m., and is measured in laps taken.

More than 70 universities across North America showed up to compete with a total of 100 cars. Western’s team driver, Matthew Margittay, 3rd-year Mechanical Engineering, led the team to a second-place victory, totaling 52 laps within the four-hour limit. The first-place team, The University of Wisconsin, claimed a narrow victory with 53 laps.

“We all felt surprised and excited beyond words,” said Team Captain Daniel Weigert, 4th-year Mechanical Engineering. “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.”

While many cars in the race did not complete the endurance challenge due to unrepairable break downs, Western’s car was able to complete the race in its entirety without having to be pulled into the pit for substantial repairs.

“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 added. “We drove aggressively, which allowed us to achieve the best Western has ever placed at a race. We were all very proud to represent our school accordingly.”

As the team prepares for their next Baja SAE race in California, which will take place in May 2019, they’ve decided to retire their current car and are now in the early stages of building a new, fully functioning car.

“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.”

When designing the new car, the team’s main objective is reliability.

“The reason we did well in Louisville was our ability to stay on the track without having to replace loose or broken parts,” said Weigert. “In terms of design, this will consist of thoroughly analyzing all the previous failures of the car to create a more reliable design.”

With a new and improved reliable design, the Western Baja SAE race team is right on track to bring home a win this spring in California.

Team Members & Sponsors

The eight team members who attended the competition include:

    • Daniel Weigert – 4th-year Mechanical Engineering, Team Captain
    • Marcus Dottermann – 4th-year Mechanical Engineering, Brakes Co-Captain
    • Matthew Margittay – 3rd-year Mechanical Engineering, Driver & Suspension Co-Captain
    • Ryan Wood – 3rd-year Mechanical Engineering, Drive Train Co-Captain
    • Karam Sadek – 3rd-year Mechanical Engineering, Drive Train Co-Captain
    • Mike Avrakh – 2nd-year Mechanical Engineering, Brakes Co-Captain
    • Andrew Dwyre – 3rd-year Mechanical Engineering, Suspension Team Member
    • Shayaan Syed Ali – 4th-year Software Engineering, DAQ Captain

The Western Engineering Baja SAE race team would like to thank the following sponsors for their continued support:

    • Western Engineering
    • Western USC
    • VR3 Engineering
    • Xtreme Toys London
    • Snowline Sports