STATESBORO—Christopher Gerdmann of Rincon will travel to Mexico with the Georgia Southern University Eagle Motorsports Racing team to compete in the SCORE (Southern California Off Road Experience) International Baja 1000 race Nov. 18-23.
Under the mentorship of Spencer Harp, laboratory supervisor in the Mechanical Engineering Department, 12 other students will compete against professional and amateur teams from around the world by driving in a non-stop, 840-mile, off-road competition. Historically, there has never been a collegiate team to compete in the Utility Task Vehicle (UTV) Class of the race.
The SCORE International Off-Road Racing Team began in August 2014 preparing for the race, a third of the time most teams take to prepare. Team members are multidisciplinary in skills and diverse in background. Collectively, the team utilizes its engineering, business and media acumen. This student club project exemplifies Georgia Southern’s mission to provide applied, student-centered experiences that bridge the classroom and the real world.
“Merely being a presence [at this race] is miraculous, and that doesn’t even begin to describe it,” Harp said. “The effort to complete and test their vehicle, raise funds for the project, and the planning and logistics of getting a race team with all their equipment to the West Coast and then into Mexico have been significant. (They’ve done) all of this, while also trying to maintain their studies.”
Hisun Motors Corp. is the platform sponsor for the team’s effort. Students involved with the project have advanced Hisun’s technology by vehicle testing and contributing engineering design modifications to ensure vehicular performance, safety and compliance with race regulations.
Eagle Motorsports is the Georgia Southern evolution of the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) program started in the ’70s. In the 1990s the program served as a senior design project for the mechanical engineering students under the direction of Brian L. Vlcek, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Mechanical Engineering Department. In 2010 Spencer Harp took over as faculty adviser for the organization and Eagle Motorsports is now a competitive international top 10 Baja SAE and top 20 Formula SAE team. Eagle Motorsports looks forward to competing with the same standard of excellence this racing season as they have at past student competitions.
The Baja 1000 team departed for Mexico on Nov. 9, and the race begins Nov. 20. Television coverage is available on CBS Sports Network and ESPN, and a live stream of the race will be available at www.score-international.com.
Fans can also follow the teams on social media at GSU Eagles Baja 1000 on Facebook, and @GSUEagles1k on Twitter.