Grove City College’s “small but mighty” Baja racing team is featured in the current issue of Momentum magazine, which highlights the work of engineering students for a national audience.
The feature story in the Society of Automotive Engineers’ publication details the Baja SAE club’s work building and racing off-road cars in national and regional competitions, including the team’s own annual Baja Butler Bash event.
Active on the national collegiate Baja SAE circuit since 2007, the racing team has designed and built several cars based on SAE standards over the years and is currently racing two gasoline-powered vehicles – #48 Lady Liberty and #79 Red October – and experimenting with an electric version.
Baja racing is a strong asset for the College’s nationally ranked Engineering program and an immense value to the 20 to 30 students who participate, according to the team’s advisor, Dr. Vernon W. Ulrich, professor of Mechanical Engineering.
“The club makes a serious effort at mentoring each other in Baja skills such as suspension design, welding, FEA, CAD programming, and the operation of the shop equipment,” he said. “Building cars has pushed our students to work hard to improve their design and shop skills.” Graduates have gone on to careers in the automotive industry, which values Baja SAE experience.
Recent graduate Olivia Whiteman ’23, an entrepreneurship major who served as the team’s marketing officer, penned the story in the April issue of Momentum. Whiteman said one of the team’s strengths is its academic diversity.
“Our club is truly a unique community, pulling students from a variety of different majors who all share a passion for automotive sports. Everyone is given the opportunity to learn, be in the shop, work on the cars, and drive in races, regardless of the experience they come to the team with. The wide variety of disciplines really allows us to bring many different ideas to the table when trying to create new designs,” Whiteman said.
Judah McGalla, a rising senior Mechanical Engineering major, discussed efforts to constantly improve the team’s fleet of vehicles. The biggest challenge is reducing the car’s weight without compromising its reliability. “If we can find the perfect middle ground between being a light car, but also a reliable car, we can finish with the top schools, and that’s our ultimate goal,” McGalla, the club’s vice president, said.
Read the full story “Grove City College Racing: Small but Mighty” online in Momentum and follow the team on Instagram and Facebook at @grovecitycollegeracing.