SIUE School of Engineering students David Gipson, Charles O'Donnell, Christian Gorden, Tim Kroger, Sean Dennert, Gabe Reeser, Jon Smyk, and Dave Beck participated in the University of Louisville’s Midnight Mayhem Baja SAE race. EDWARDSVILLE – The Southern Illinois University Edwardsville School of Engineering’s Cougar Baja team completed its first competition of the year at the University of Louisville’s Midnight Mayhem, the world’s largest exhibition race for Baja SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) vehicles, in mid-September.

Midnight Mayhem is an annual exhibition race organized by UofL SAE Baja alumni, for student-built vehicles conforming to the rules of the Baja SAE series. Seventy-three teams, including 11 international entries, competed with 93 cars that were tested for acceleration, maneuverability and suspension.

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Students are invited from across North America to test new designs and ideas, show new members what Baja SAE is all about, and race wheel-to-wheel against other colleges and universities. The featured event is the endurance race that challenges teams to navigate a course full of rocks, logs, jumps and other obstacles to see whose car can make the most laps in four hours.

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“Our team was able to compete with two cars which allowed plenty of drive time for new members,” said David Gipson, Cougar Baja president. “Our highlight was the endurance race as Car #127 was on the Top 20 leaderboard for the majority of the race, holding 12th place for an extended period of time before a mechanical failure forced it out.”

SIUE Car #127 and Car #94 placed 23rd and 73rd, respectively. “We are extremely proud of these accomplishments and can’t wait to see what this competition year has in store for us,” Gipson said. “With a new car currently under construction, we expect to continue improving both in the shop and out on the track.”

For its next competition, the Cougar Baja team plans to attend Baja SAE Louisville May 14-17, 2020 where it will compete with the car currently under construction.

The SIUE School of Engineering is one of the largest engineering schools in the region. It offers comprehensive and affordable engineering programs with eight undergraduate degrees, five master’s degrees and two cooperative doctoral programs. Students learn from expert faculty, perform cutting-edge research, and participate in intercollegiate design competitions. Companies in the metropolitan St. Louis area provide students challenging internships and co-op opportunities, which often turn into permanent employment. Students gain hands-on experience in the School’s state-of-the-art facilities, including the new Fowler Student Design Center.

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