The Oklahoma Christian University Student Government Association voted to approve a funding request made by senior Lance Littlewood last night, for the Oklahoma Christian SAE Baja team to construct a vehicle and participate in a SAE Baja competition in May 2018.
According to Littlewood, the total cost for the project, including parts needed to build the vehicle and travel costs, is around $20,000. Littlewood’s request for funding from SGA would only cover the $1,250 registration fee, which is 6 percent of the total cost.
The project is one of five projects senior mechanical engineering students must complete before graduation and involves building a Baja car from scratch.
“Each year we build a new car, which includes building a new frame, suspension, drive train and safety gear for the driver,” Littlewood said. “The events that we compete in include static events like our presentation of the design of the car as well as a sales pitch. Then, the dynamic events include the endurance race and suspension obstacle course.”
SAE International, a global association of more than 128,000 engineers and related technical experts in the aerospace, automotive and commercial-vehicle industries, hosts the competition. Littlewood said the planned budget is for 15 people travel with the Oklahoma Christian team to the event.
“We have 12 people on our team and two mentors,” Littlewood said. “We are hoping to bring extras along and since the actual competition is in May, a lot of seniors end up not being able to go, whether because they’ve got a job lined up or some other reason. So, our goal is to be able to bring in some future members, so they can experience what it’s like.”
Last year, Oklahoma Christian placed 75th out of 100 teams in the SAE competition. Littlewood said the department keeps the old Baja cars from previous years to run diagnostics and help design a better vehicle the next year.
“What Dr. Ryan, our mentor, likes to do is have at least two cars running,” Littlewood said. “This way, the designers know what to design for and know, ‘This is what we like about this car and this is what we don’t like.’ Since this is new people every year, you don’t get to have years of experience in this. It helps them to realize, ‘Hey, these are things we need do the same or differently.’”
Littlewood said Niagara Bottling is sponsoring most of the project, but there are still some expenses to cover.
“The mechanical engineering department is actually covering the difference, but to give the mechanical engineering department a break and help them fund other teams, because there are more systems teams, that’s why we’re asking for small chunk of change to fund our project,” Littlewood said.
According to Littlewood, the SAE International competition only accepts the first 100 teams to sign up for the competition, so he and his fellow team members will have to be quick to register Oct. 3.
“There’s going to be about four or five of us on laptops clicking the button,” Littlewood said. “If you click the button quick enough and fill out the information, we’ll get to compete.”
SGA meets every Wednesday at 9 p.m. in Harvey Business Center, room 119. Meetings are open to the public.