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Midnight Mayhem takes contest off-road for mini-racers

It's dirty, noisy, off-road, Saturday-night racing fun – but there's also a lot of science and hard work at play when University of Louisville students offer their third annual Midnight Mayhem competition for mini-racers Sept. 25.

More than 30 teams bringing 50-60 cars from UofL and other universities are scheduled to compete from 8 p.m. to midnight on a lighted dirt track at Podium1 Motoplex, 2921 Sunset Trail, in Charlestown, Ind. Spectator admission is $10.

The UofL student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is host of the event. Most of the students are from the Speed School of Engineering but some are from the College of Business and College of Arts and Sciences. Two UofL teams will compete.

Teams will drive the four-wheel, off-road vehicles called Baja SAE racers in a four-hour endurance race; the vehicle completing the most laps wins. Drivers can switch out when they need to refuel the vehicles, which use stock engines and fuel tanks.

UofL's Baja SAE teams and others race in other competitions regionally and nationally, but this nighttime invitational event at a motocross track began in 2008 as a rare, unsanctioned format.  UofL's SAE teams had their best year ever in 2008-09, with the mini-racers winning the inaugural Midnight Mayhem race as well as placing sixth and 14th overall in national competitions and the onroad Formula racecar placing sixth in its contest.   

UofL students raise funds for, design, manage, build, test, promote and race their vehicles. Although they do not receive course credit for the work, they benefit from applying the technical and project management concepts learned in class to building and racing the vehicles with resource and time constraints.

For more information, contact race coordinator and research engineer Scott Cambron at 502-216-3279 or chapter adviser and professor Keith Sharp at 502-852-7280.

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