Under the lights: Midnight Mayhem offers off-road contest Oct. 3

Trimble County event expected to attract 700 students from 50 universities
Under the lights: Midnight Mayhem offers off-road contest Oct. 3

The UofL Baja SAE racer flies over a hill during a competition.

Hundreds of college students will converge Oct. 3 for some Saturday racing that tests their stamina and vehicle design skills during the Midnight Mayhem competition that University of Louisville students host and organize for off-road cars.

More than 700 students bringing about 100 cars from nearly 50 universities across the United States and Canada are expected to compete at Nickota Motorsports Park, 373 Buck Run Road, in Bedford, Ky. Competition begins at 9 a.m. with the main event -- an endurance race on a dirt track -- running from 8 p.m. to midnight. Spectator admission is $5.

Teams will drive four-wheel, off-road vehicles called Baja SAE racers. In the endurance race, the vehicle completing the most laps wins. Drivers can switch out when they need to refuel the student-designed vehicles, which use 10-horsepower stock engines and fuel tanks.

The UofL student chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) is host of the event.   Three UofL teams, involving 25 Speed School of Engineering students, will race in Midnight Mayhem using vehicles from previous years of competition.

UofL's Baja SAE teams and others race in competitions regionally and nationally, but this night invitational event at a motocross track began in 2008 as an unofficial race that gives teams racing experience in the fall before the official competitions resume in the spring and summer.

As a new feature this year, four cars, including one from UofL, will be outfitted with cockpit cameras so the teams can stream video live to YouTube from 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. The live broadcast will be at http://www.youtube.com/channel/UC40ndmAsPKjePmIhiuL4dAA

UofL students raise funds for, design, manage, build, test, promote and drive their vehicles. Although they do not receive course credit for the work, they apply the technical and project management concepts learned in class to building and racing the vehicles under time and budget constraints.

For more information, check www.ULMidnightMayhem.com or contact team captain Chris Gruner at 859-380-6087 or cmgrun01@gmail.com or mechanical engineering alumnus and head organizer Alex Bays at 859-321-7102 or bays.alexander@gmail.com.