February 9, 2009 12:13:16 am
The Invincibles,a team from Sinhagad Academy of Engineering,lived up to its name. A car designed by the team turned out to be the only vehicle among four from the city that could sustain the gruelling 3.7-km track of the endurance race at the second Baja SaeIndia 2009,held at NATRiP,Pithampur,in Indore.
The competition,organised by Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE),requires each team to design and build a prototype of a single seat,off-road recreational vehicle intended for sale to non-professionals. It should be safe,easily transported,easily maintained and fun to drive.
The 18-member team,led by Aniket Katyarmal and guided by head of mechanical engineering department Col O P Misra,had prepared for almost nine months for the January 30 event. We started working on the chassis or roll cage of the vehicle and modified it thrice to fulfill all the requirements. Once the chassis was ready,we used scrap material to build the prototype, said Saumitra Kelkar,one of the team members. The team tested the car umpteen times at the college to make sure that it sustains the tough track.
At the endurance race, Aniket drove the Invincibles car number 48 to the second position,finishing the 14 laps in 2 hours. While Saumitra was the co-driver,Gaurav Mehta was designated the third driver.
The vehicle not only sustained the track designed with huge bumps and pits,but did not require a single repair and took just one stop for refuelling. The success means huge for the team,considering that cars designed by students from IIT Mumbai and IIT Delhi could not finish the race. In fact,only 10 of the 58 cars managed to cross the finish line, Saumitra said.
The strong suspension,continuous testing,modified Ackerman steering mechanism and high ground clearance is what made it possible, Saumitra said.
Besides Aniket,Saumitra and Gaurav,the team of third and fourth-year mechanical engineering students included Nachiket Kulkarni,Ramesh Kumar Kaswan,Shreyas Inamdar,Niraj Mohite,Anand Pathak,Donnel Peter,Natasha Anand,Sameer Kamthe,Pashupatinath Hingmire,Jaypreet Luthra,Nikhil Patharkar,Vikram Chavan,Dhaval Kirave,Mayuresh Korekar and Swapnil Bhagat.
Though the car ran on Speed the high-performance petrol for the race,it can also be run on normal petrol. The Invincibles finished fifth in the overall event with 749/1000 points. The team is now aiming for the top position next year.
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