Racing the sun

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A team of 17 students from Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering, Kumaraswamy Layout, are all geared up to experience three days of fun and excitement at ‘BAJA SAEINDIA 2012’, which will be held at the National Automobile Test Tracks in Pithampur, Madhya Pradesh. Here, they are going to compete with teams coming from across the country for the BAJA race.

Excited bunch: (Back row) R V Praveena Gowda, H Ramakrishna, Dhanush, Anurag, Nalanda, Prateek, Nethaji S Ganesan, CPS Prakash and Anand. (Front row) Dhananjay S, Apoorva, Gagandeep, Arshad, Pavan, Swaroop, Rajath and Vikram.

The students, who call themselves ‘Team Kashpiers’, have designed an all-terrain vehicle exclusively for this event and are all set to challenge their counterparts from the other colleges.

The BAJA is a national-level competition held under the aegis of SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) and is scheduled to take place from February 17 to 19.

The students of DSCE formed an SAE club recently in their college and this is the first time they have designed an all-terrain vehicle without taking the help of professionals from outside. The SAE team of their college now has more than 650 members from across 16 branches of engineering.

Prateek Ranjan, a final year industrial engineering and management student, has been spearheading this initiative as the team captain and is confident of making it big during the competition.

“There was a preliminary round to shortlist the teams for the BAJA race. More than 250 technical institutions presented the virtual design of the vehicle they were going to build.
Out of them, 100 colleges were shortlisted. Though we had no prior experience of designing a car, we could get through the first round whereas teams from NIT and even IIT failed to clear it. It boosted our confidence. And soon after our sixth semester exams, we took up the fabrication of the vehicle.”

Building a vehicle from scratch was not all that easy. They had to import many parts from abroad. They also had a tough time searching for the right components in the local markets.

“The BAJA team helped us import engine and safety equipment from the US and France. We divided the team into two main groups. One group that looked after technical elements was again divided into four parts and each took care of brakes, suspension, engine and steering of the vehicle. The other group dealt with marketing things,” says Prateek.

The team was assisted by Professor R V Praveena Gowda and Netaji S Ganesan, Principal, DSCE. The other members are Dhananjay, Arshad, Rishi, Nalanda, Dhanush, Rajath, Vikram, Vivek, Suhas, Gagandeep, Pavan, Varun, Anurag and Aniketh.

“The ‘Team Kashpiers’ has 17 members who have been shortlisted after a rigorous test. Each one of us have our own responsibility towards the vehicle. Being in the marketing team, we had to work hard to get the sponsors and convince them. Later we got a lot of sponsors. The engine, the crucial part of the vehicle, has been sponsored by Briggs and Stratton. We didn’t get an instant success in fabricating the vehicle, it was a process of trial and error. Our vehicle has passed all the parameters set by BAJA in terms of ground clearance, straight line power, turning radius and safety installations. During the competition, they will check the car in different terrains, its hill climbing capacity, good suspension and safety,” says Anand Bhate, marketing head of the team.

The team will be participating many other auto exhibitions post this event. Swaroop D, who is the vice-captain, will be driving the car during the event.

“I am really excited and looking forward to the competition. It is a complete team work and each of us will be giving our best shot at BAJA,” he says. 

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