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Old 22nd May 2024, 03:23   #1
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Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24

“So how do I begin it? Umm what should I write about? Should I get deep into it from the very beginning, or should I start about my life first? How should I write it? Wont I bore the new 10 second look generation? Will people actually like this thread? Will they understand my passion behind what I am doing?”- These were some of thoughts still lurking around in my mind while I write about something which I totally love, and I hope I would be able to do it justice.

While I have already penned down a intro post about me,(I hope you check that out as well) let me give a short introduction about me- I am Priyam, a mechatronics student studying at MIT Manipal. Being a car enthusiast since very young age, I always wanted to build a car, and when an opportunity came to me, I grabbed it both my hands!

I am no salesman of the institute, but I really have to commend about one thing which Manipal offers- exposure to the real world, and practical engineering in the form of different Student Projects. Student Projects(SP) are student teams where all like minded people work on a common goal. There are various SP working in different areas like Robots, Rovers, Drones, Bikes, hyperloops, Rockets, satellites, and the favourite of all automotive enthusiasts- BAJA,& Formula vehicles.

Team Manipal Racing(TMR) is the official BAJA Team of MIT Manipal, and I proudly a part of it as the R&D Head. TMR started back in 2008, being one of the first teams competing in this offroad atv space. We were one of the first team to head over to BAJA USA representing the institute and the country at the competition. We participate at SAE BAJA India every year winning accolades and bringing laurels to the institute. All of this is possible only because of the hardwork that every team member does to build the vehicle, and the support we receive from sponsors and the institute.
Every year, team builds a combustion and electric vehicle from grounds up putting in some serious man hours, sacrificing quite a lot of things, but all this is nothing infront of the feeling we get when we see the car run for the first time.

Every year, after the competition, we start with discussions on what went wrong and the way forward. We come up with objectives, and set a deadline for each of the task revolving around the competition.
After setting objectives, we start with the designing phase. There are 3 primary subsystems- Transmission, Structures and Vehicle dynamics dealing with different aspects of the vehicle.

The Structures subsystem handles everything related to the tubular spaceframe chassis. They analyse and then manufacture our designs, ensuring accuracy and durability in all off-roading circumstances. All body work is made in house using carbon fibre, nomex and other composite materials, using a cost effective vacuum bagging layup process. Packaging of all components into the final vehicle assembly is handled by us. They are also responsible for the overall aesthetic appeal of the car, by fabricating all of the body work.
Transmission/Powertrain subsystem is responsible for the car’s propulsion and designing a transmission unit that gives optimum performance while keeping it as compact as possible. A small 10 HP engine is pumped up to deliver enough torque to pull a 2.5 Ton Tractor through a custom CVT and a 4WD-gearbox and differential, all of which are designed inhouse.
Vehicle Dynamics is responsible for designing/manufacturing of the suspension systems, brakes, steering system, and deal with anything that concerns the dynamic capability of the car. we strive to achieve ideal handling of the car, optimised for off-roading conditions.
The entire vehice is designed following the stringent rulebook released by SAE. It is a 200 page rulebook,where violating even 1 rule would deem the car illegal at the competition.

A lot of CAE is done for each and every part, as the Vehicle has to be very reliable, perform excellently, while also being as light as possible. Softwares like Ansys, Adams, Hyperworks, IPG Carmaker form the base of our analysis.

After designing, manufacturing phase starts where Structures start welding the tubes to make the chassis, while VD starts with manufacturing of Arms. Transmission subsystem has components like gearbox and diff which are built primarily on CNC machines.

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-20230907_104143.jpg
Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-img_20231110_231515.jpg
After about 2-3 months of intense work, when the car has its first run, everyone becomes emotional and excited at the same time. We start testing the vehicle inside out, and tune it for maximum performance.
Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-20231015_012026.jpg
Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-whatsapp-image-20240405-23.45.28_6665272f.jpg
Attachment 2608379
Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-img_0897.jpg

The competition doesnt deal just in the physical aspect of engineering but also tests us on soft skills. We have a virtual presentation round which is about the same wqeightage as that of physical competition rounds. Presentations like Design, Cost, CAE, Cost and Business are made and presented to industry experts which helps us, the students polish their communication skills. All this sounds very nice until its about making ppts and documents which we people hate :( (also the reason why we didn’t perform that well in these).

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-team.jpg

The V15 Team.

The competition

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-img_6413.jpg

The competition was held in January this year. The competition was scheduled for 4 days, wherein the 1st day is the TI Day. TI stands for Technical inspection where all the aspects of the car are checked by industry specialists and judges ensuring that all the rules are adhered to.
Safety is taken with a lot of importance, and even violation of 1 rule may result into disqualification. After a thorough inspection, we finally cleared the TI on 2nd day, being one of the first teams to do so.
We had qualified for the Final round of Sales and CAE Presentation. We gave the presentation on the first day. The Sales presentation in particular went very well with judges impressed with our efforts. They had their points of concern and gave us some great constructive criticism on our business plan.
Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-whatsapp-image-20240522-02.53.42_a83f84c1.jpg
After TI, we went for “Brake Check” which is another important check which you have to fulfil for vehicle to be deemed fit to participate. The vehicle has to reach a speed of 40km/hr and then slam the brakes. All wheels should get locked, and the vehicle to stop within 8m distance from breaking pt. If any of the wheels spin for more than half rotation, You fail the test. You have a total of 2 chances, and if you aren’t able to pass the test, the vehicle cant take part in the competition.
Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-dsc_0775.nef.jpg
We were the first team to attempt the test, and we passed it in the very first attempt.
We also attempted an acceleration run, where our vehicle was able to cover 150ft in 6 seconds. We were not very satisfied with this, coz our vehicle in our internal testing had clocked much better timings.

Day 3
It was a day of disappointment. We were able to clock a little better acceleration timing in our 2nd run, but no where close to our potential. But a surprise awaited for us. More on this later.
After acceleration, we went for Sled Pull event where the vehicle had to tow a 2.5ton tractor for 50m in the least time possible. We were able to clock timings under 15 second which was very respectable.

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-img_6466.jpg

Now we headed to the main events of the day- Maneuverability and Suspension & Traction.
This year, the track was much harder than the previous years. The S&T was a real car breaker, with cars rolling over at every point. Our car although very capable otherwise, struggled a lot in these events. We had an issue with the turning radius of the vehicle being larger than designed- the car basically understeering, which costed us a lot of points, as the vehicle DNFed both the events.

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-dsc_0108.nef.jpg
Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-dsc_0085.nef.jpg
Trust me when i say that these pictures dont do justice to what the actual track was.

We were not happy with how things went, and would have been heartbroken if not for the great news that we finished 2nd in acceleration and 6th in Sled Pull which we received at the end of the day. We believed in us, and the machine and were determined to bounce back the next day- The Endurance Race day.
The D Day
Last day of the competition is for Endurance day,which is a four hour wheel to wheel race among all the vehicles on a 5km track which in itself tested the car inside out. Only the best vehicles and determined drivers are able to survive this 4hour test, counting laps as they fly by with only one aim- to stand on Podium.
It was intense for every team member at the pit watching the livestream of the race, while being in constant touch with the driver over radio communications. Every time we see our vehicle on the stream, each and every member would shout and cheer for our driver. We also had some heart in the mouth moments when the communication channel with the driver broke.
2 hours into the race, we received a message from the driver that the rear shaft have come out of the tripod. As soon as we received this information, the team got ready to do a pitstop F1 style.
It normally takes upwards of 10 mins to change the shafts, but we could not afford that much time. We used all the skills and experience we had gathered over the year, and changed the shaft in record 3 minutes. It was out of the world for us, and we were very happy with what we have achieved. Even the driver was shocked with this effort of ours.
We had another pitstop for a punctured tyre, which costed us some more precious time, but we were at a very good position in the race leaderboard.
We ended up being 3rd in the race, a race where about 80 other cars ran. This was the best ever performance from our team at the endurance event. We could not contain our excitement.

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-img_20240113_135427.jpg
the car after race.

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-screenshot-20240522-022240.png

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-fullsizerender.jpg



Valedictory ceremony

Even though we had a bittersweet event, with very highs or lows, we were proud of what we have done. While we were waiting to receive our awards in categories like acceleration and endurance, we got another surprise. We got 3rd in Sales presentation. This was special for me personally, as I was the one who presented it Infront of judges. It always feels nice to get validation on your efforts and being recognized for it.
With this, we ended our stint at BAJA SAE INDIA 24.

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-whatsapp-image-20240522-02.32.14_843744f3.jpg

The way forward-
Our journey thus far has been marked by remarkable achievements on the Indian stage, including our recent 3rd place victory in the grueling endurance race at BAJA SAE India. Now, we are setting our sights on the grand stage of America, where BAJA USA awaits.

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-whatsapp-image-20240405-23.45.42_ea229cb8.jpg

Competing in BAJA USA is not just about representing our alma mater; it's about showcasing the ingenuity, talent, and innovation that define MIT Manipal on an international platform. It's about flying our colors proudly in the heart of America, where the world's best collegiate minds converge to push the boundaries of automotive engineering.
We are aiming to compete at both BAJA India and USA this year.

Last edited by GTO : 23rd May 2024 at 18:38. Reason: Only 2 smileys / post :)
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Old 22nd May 2024, 11:12   #2
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Re: Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24

Quote:
Originally Posted by THE_BEAST View Post
Team Manipal Racing(TMR) is the official BAJA Team of MIT Manipal, and I proudly a part of it as the R&D Head. TMR started back in 2008, being one of the first teams competing in this offroad atv space. We were one of the first team to head over to BAJA USA representing the institute and the country at the competition. We participate at SAE BAJA India every year winning accolades and bringing laurels to the institute. All of this is possible only because of the hardwork that every team member does to build the vehicle, and the support we receive from sponsors and the institute.
Every year, team builds a combustion and electric vehicle from grounds up putting in some serious man hours, sacrificing quite a lot of things, but all this is nothing infront of the feeling we get when we see the car run for the first time.
Excellent, proud to see another MITian in TBHP

I graduated from MIT Manipal in 2007 (Mech) and this Formula SAE movement had just about started back then. Great effort!
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Old 22nd May 2024, 11:31   #3
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Re: Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24

Welcome to the club pal!

The SAE BAJA event is a stringent right of passage for every budding mechanical engineer looking to make his name in this vast field. The 6 months you put in the project frankly teaches you more than what any other rudimentary course/syllabus will teach in the classroom. I was also part of my college BAJA team and we finished 3rd beating many richer,better equipped and more experienced teams. This memory will never fade brother.

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-screenshot_20240522_135622_instagram.jpg
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Old 22nd May 2024, 11:42   #4
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Re: Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24

Proud of your accomplishment and achievement. Congratulations and best wishes
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Old 22nd May 2024, 12:37   #5
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Re: Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24

BAJA SAE, I think this was the best part of college for me. I was part of the team from BITS dubai that went to Tennessee USA in 2013. Man making the vehicle was the most fun, finding sponsors to be honest wasn't the most fun part, but somehow we scraped by. Kudos to you guys for making it through.
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Old 22nd May 2024, 12:49   #6
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Re: Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24

As a fellow MITian (14-18) batch - IT, I'm super proud to see this!
I even used to choose automobile subjects as my optional ones.
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Old 22nd May 2024, 13:00   #7
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Re: Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24

Nice to see a fellow SAE BAJA participant. My team participated in the E BAJA SAE 2023 & 2024 events held in HP and Hyderabad respectively, the electric version of BAJA SAE. The team name is "E BAJA BHAIS" from PSG College of Technology, Coimbatore, Tamilnadu. I was the Technical Lead, Dynamics Lead and Manufacturing lead in the team.

Needless to say, the experience and the stuff I learnt from my 3 years in the BAJA SAE team has helped me a lot and has given me a headstart in my career when compared to my batchmates. I studied Mechanical engineering, so it was nice to see how different the theories and mechanics in actual working correlate with each other.

Coming to the actual event, We cleared all the Technical evaluations (we had extremely stringent Mechanical TI and Electrical TI separately) and even came close to the podium in the tractor-pull event! But our car suffered a front knuckle fracture in the stub axle in the last lap of the endurance event. Attaching some photos of the car and the event.

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-whatsapp-image-20240522-12.29.17_95316cb6.jpg
Before the start of the endurance event. We named our car "BUMBLEBEE" since it was one of the fastest and lightest among the others .

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-whatsapp-image-20240522-12.29.18_6b760f0c.jpg
Sledge pull event

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-whatsapp-image-20240522-12.29.18_b19d46db.jpg
Manoeuvrability event

Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-whatsapp-image-20240522-12.44.59_5d422ad2.jpg
Yours truly post the endurance event with a broken stub axle and a heavy heart .
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Old 22nd May 2024, 16:46   #8
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Re: Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24

Proud to see my ala mater finding a place here. I am 1988 - 92 batch Mechanical Engineering. Those days, Manipal was totally different as compared to what I observed during my last visit 3 years ago. The classrooms, labs, hostels, mess etc have become world class.
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Old 23rd May 2024, 07:40   #9
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Re: Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24

Hey guys we are also interested in participating in these events. We are preparing a design for the go kart event.
How do you go about the funding?
How to get sponsors?

Last edited by KarthikK : 23rd May 2024 at 08:43.
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Old 23rd May 2024, 09:24   #10
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Re: Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24

Very nice thread!

Good to see more Manipal on the forum!
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Old 23rd May 2024, 11:33   #11
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Re: Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24

Brings backs the memories

Our team participated in 2013

I even lobbied our captain to allow me to be the only driver

We struggled until the very end as we are/were the only batch to get qualified to finals. And zero funding from our college. We even had to rent a workshop outside for few weeks to build the frames as didnt get the permission to use the college workshop.

Funny thing, I see they have put Baja sae pictures in their websites for promotion

But we had super fun at the NATRiP Indore.


The first test drive
Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-alles.jpg

Now rotting away in the campus
Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24-img20201206wa0003.jpg
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Old 24th May 2024, 00:21   #12
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Re: Conquering the Wild! Team Manipal Racing's journey at BAJA SAE '24

Quote:
Originally Posted by ds.raikkonen View Post
Excellent, proud to see another MITian in TBHP
You name an industry, and we will surely find an MITian THere!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vkap257 View Post
This memory will never fade brother.
About Two years into this project, and i have surely made tons of memory that will last a lifetime.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dan_nx View Post
Hey guys we are also interested in participating in these events. We are preparing a design for the go kart event.
How do you go about the funding?
How to get sponsors?
Finding sponsors is equally hard, if not harder than making the vehicle itself, especially when you are starting out,and have no accomplishment to your name. In our case, we are bit lucky as we have some considerable achievements to our name, and moreover being "Manipal" in itself carries a little weight especially during sponsorship pitch. Which company wont want to have a good relation with a top university.
I would recommend you to start by asking your institution for support, and then go to local hardware shops, and get whatever In-Kind sponsorship they offer. Have a crowdfunding/ public event where you raise money. That being said, its always a tough job to get sponsors onboard, but your networking abilities, and convincing power + passion can take you a long way! Best of luck to you guys. If you get any leads, share with us also
We are in dire need of airline sponsorship for the US event. Most of the team members wont be able to fully afford the expensive trip to US for competition.
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