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Mace and Crown | May 20, 2018

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SAE Builds Cars, Hopes to Share the Experience with Others

Audra Reigle | Technology Editor


The Engineering Systems Building on campus is home to the Motorsports Lab. This is the home to members of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). In this room, students are able to build cars to take to competitions and gain class credit.

There are three teams within the SAE. The Formula SAE team designs cars for on-road use. The Baja SAE team designs cars for off-road use. The Aero SAE team designs scale model electric or gas planes. All teams take their projects to competitions. Teams consist of about 15 to 20 members.

The Baja SAE team recently returned from a competition in Louisville, Kentucky. Midnight Mayhem was a one day competition that concluded in a three hour endurance race. ODU’s Baja SAE team came in fifth place in the endurance race and third place overall out of 100 cars.

The Baja SAE team will participate in their next competition in mid-April in Mechanicsville, Maryland. This competition will be more in depth than Midnight Mayhem in that they will also be trying to sell their car.

The Formula SAE team last participated in a competition in May 2016. They’re currently preparing for their next competition in May 2018.

These competitions allow students to meet with industry professionals. It also gives them the opportunity to gain internships.

Students do not have to be engineering majors to participate in SAE. Two members of the Baja team are Biology and Criminal Justice majors, according to Connor Butler, senior and Baja team co-lead.

“We actually would love to have much more outside perspective than us engineers,” Aleric Sanders, senior and SAE president, said. Sanders is also one of the leaders of the Formula SAE team.

There is a promotional side to what the SAE does that engineers can do, but there are other students on campus that can do it better.

“What we’d love to see happen more is a lot more inter-college connectivity on this particular project,” Ladson Webb, senior and Formula SAE team co-lead, said. “We’d like to see schools give credit for senior projects for other schools within the college, so they too can come here with not only a learning opportunity but also a school credit opportunity, like we have, and be able to merge us all together in one big melting pot of experience and benefit.”

Students are also able to earn credit through their work with SAE. A two semester long capstone project allows students to work on the Formula or Baja SAE teams.

Interested students can attend meetings on Tuesday and Thursday from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in ESB 1135.