This year, a team of Old Dominion University mechanical engineering students, known as the ODU Formula SAE Baja team, recently achieved the highest placement in University history at the SAE Illinois International Competition where they were up against 106 other universities.
The team, which is part of ODU Motorsports, placed 21st and is now the best placing team in Virginia. The group outranked Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Virginia Western Community College, Blue Ridge Community College and Virginia Military Institute.
Brady Winebarger, the team’s captain, said the victory represents long hours and a wide range of skills coming together to produce the most efficient and powerful vehicle.
“Everything we do on the car is designed in a computer with all of the stress analysis to go along with it and math to prove our numbers. Then, we build the car. Every person, from freshmen all the way up seniors, are a part of this. We have people from the math and biology departments helping us as well.”
Winebarger said the skills students learn in the ODU Motorsports program are invaluable. After ODU, students have gone on to work for companies like Ford, General Motors, Volvo and Textron.
Old Dominion University Motorsports is part of the Department of Mechanical Engineering in the Frank Batten College of Engineering. ODU Motorsports sponsors and organizes two design activities at Old Dominion: the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Formula SAE Competition and the SAE Mini Baja Competition. Teams of ODU Motorsports students (both graduates and undergraduates) work with Mechanical Engineering faculty to design, fabricate and test vehicles in a series of prestigious international competitions.