The Wheel Deal

BAJA SAE India, a national-level inter-college racing competition, will feature 16 colleges from Pune this time

Ever since its inception in 2007, the BAJA SAE India, an ATV (all-terrain vehicle) fabricating and racing competition, has been one of the highlights of undergraduate engineering events across India. This year, as many as 16 colleges from Pune will participate in the final event, which will be held over the weekend in Indore. The teams are among the 120 shortlisted from 250 entries at an event in Bangalore last year.

The Pune teams are kicked about the actual fabrication, building and testing of cars. Take the case of Team Resonance Racing, the team from AISSMS College of Engineering. Captain Akashay Tilekar says their selection in Bangalore last year and winning the endurance section and hill-climb sections at BAJA SAE 2012 was a huge morale booster.

"This year, we wanted our car to be lighter and with good impact protection. It took about four months to build and everything was done in-house. Some parts were shipped in from the US and Australia. We are hoping to better our record from last year," says Tilekar.

Some of the participating teams include Army Institute of Technology, MIT Pune, Pimpri Chinchwad College of Engineering, Sinhagad College of Engineering, Vishwakarma Institute of Technology and others. The all-girls team Team Blitz from Cummins College of Engineering for Women is visibly excited. Mrunal Sawant, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student, who is part of Team Blitz, says, "Our team of 24 underwent training for welding and even endurance training. We had to prepare for the gruelling race. So when the team was out testing, we took the entire squad to get a feel of the actual scenario."

The Symbiosis Institute of Technology is another debutante, hoping to make an impression on the course. "Right from the time we showcased our design to the final fabrication, we have been studying ways to make sure the car doesn't buckle," says Captain Aniket Deo.

Team Nemesis from the College of Engineering Pune chose to go with a completely new design this year. Captain Shrirang Puranik says the process of designing, fabricating and testing took them seven months. "We wanted to go with a new design because we got Force Motors on board as sponsor. We hope to pull off a finish in the top three this time. Last year, we won the best acceleration award and we want to better it this time around," he says.

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