Engineering students from all over the country were welding cars, fixing tires and testing their machines at the Irungattukottai race track, 50kms from Chennai from 1-3 July. The occasion was the Maruti Suzuki SUPRA SAE India Competition, a design competition where students had to build from scratch, fabricate and test drive a formula-type race car.
Maruti Suzuki provided an 800cc engine and technical support to the teams.
“Maruti has spent about 70 to 75 lakhs on engines and technical outlay. Apart from that, we are the organizers and the title sponsors of the event. We spent around Rs1.5 crores for this event in total,” says Deepak Sawkar, General Manager, Engineering, R&D, Maruti Suzuki.
The students, on their part, also had to pitch in money as the costs of production were anywhere in the Rs4-10 lakh range. Some teams were lucky to find sponsors, while others weren’t so fortunate.
“We have been working on this for one and a half years now. For engineers, motorsports is the only hobby. It’s not only fun, but also technically challenging,” said A Amarnath, Student of Jeppiaar Engineering College, Chennai.
The three-day event concluded with a race followed by an HR summit where promising students were recruited by Maruti Suzuki and other sponsoring companies.
“A couple of teams have come out with innovative ideas like new types of suspension and carbon-fibre bodies,” says Rajesh Mirajker of Mirajker Designs, Chennai-based industrial and automotive designers.