Date: 10th May 2012
Team Manipal Racing (TMR) is all set for the Burlington, Wisconsin off-road competition, SAE BAJA Wisconsin to be held from June 7 to 10, 2012. Their vehicle, “TMR V3”, was formally launched by the Chancellor of Manipal University, Dr Ramdas M Pai at the Health Sciences Library of Manipal University here on April 30, 2012. This is the third time that Manipal Institute of Technology students will be participating in the event, organised by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), USA. “It is a perfect platform to apply engineering knowledge and skills in a real world environment,” said team leader and captain, Siddharth Singh of 3rd mechanical, at the launch.
“We hope to do far better this time with a lot of improvement in our all terrain vehicle (ATV),” Siddharth said. It was at Wisconsin in 2009 that TMR made its first appearance. On that occasion, the team finished 97th out of 115 overall, and 14th in design. At Rochester in 2010 the team finished 62nd out of 94. Incidentally, TMR had been the best Indian team at both these meets. “Past experiences have helped us tremendously in the present venture to improve the vehicle in every way,” the team leader said.
TMR V3 features various technical advancements over previous designs; being one of India’s lightest BAJA car through extensive use of advanced, lightweight materials. Besides, better electronics are being showcased on this year’s car by the inclusion of an onboard speedometer, various instrumentation gauges permitting real-time monitoring of various vehicle performance parameters from the pit-crew. The incorporation of a Limited Slip Differential (LSD) has drastically improved turning performance and stability.
The team comprises 36 students divided into six technical and three management departments. The departments include suspension, steering, transmission, chassis, brakes and electronics under technical, while the management team is subdivided into finances, logistics and public relations. David Furtado, also a 3rd Mechanical student, is the manager of the team handling the various business aspects.
Preparations for this year’s race began way back in 2010 after the team decided to skip the 2011 event in Illinois, USA. That time was utilised to develop the design and come up with a better vehicle. The final design was completed by mid-2011 and the fabrication began in October 2011. The team channelized more effort, squeezing in hours of work around college schedule to ensure the car’s completion by mid-April. The vehicle has been extensively tested and found to be better in many ways than the previous ones. One hundred and fifteen teams from all over the world are expected to participate in this year’s competition which will include other teams from India as well.
Some of the main sponsors of the vehicle which cost Rs 11 lakhs are: Sahara India, Polaris Industries, DHFL and Idea Cellular. Dr. Krishnamurty from Mechanical Engineering is the faculty advisor while Dr. Divakar Shetty S, HoD, Mechanical and Dr. B. Rammohan Pai, HoD, Automobile Engineering have lent full support through the duration of the project.