BY PETER SWART
The Conestoga Off-Road Baja Racing Team, known simply by the acronym COBRA, earned the school some bragging rights as they finished in fifth place and ahead of all other Ontario schools in a competition last month.
COBRA consists of a group of students from Conestoga’s School of Engineering and Information Technology who spend most of their free time building and improving off-road vehicles to race in competitions all around North America.
“It’s under the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and it’s an international competition,” said Amanda Logiudice. “Colleges and universities around the world build these off-road vehicles and compete in a whole bunch of different races.”
Logiudice is a member of COBRA and a student in the mechanical systems engineering program. She was one of the students who travelled to Laval, Que. to compete in the invitational race last month.
The race was not a SAE-sanctioned event so the students were able to use a car that had been built four years prior to them joining the team. In order to register for a sanctioned event, the team must build a new vehicle according to Dylan Thomas, another member of the team.
“If you race at the SAE-sanctioned events you have to change your car by 33 per cent every year,” Thomas said, “so basically after two years you have to build a new car.”
Team members this year are almost all new and are in the middle of building a new vehicle that will be ready in time for the big events in May 2019.
Brent Stansfield is another member who strongly believes that they will have the vehicle ready by next year.
“Basically the whole team graduated last year so we’re picking up where they left off,” Stansfield said.
All of the students believe that being a member of the team is a great way to get practical experience, do some networking and learn from other teams.
“It’s a lot of networking because you meet a lot of other teams and other engineers and find out what they did with their cars and why,” said Thomas.
The team is also a good way to stand out to future employers.
“There’s a lot of companies that will draw candidates from SAE events,” said Stansfield, “TESLA being one of them.”
The team encourages anyone in the School of Engineering and Information Technology to get in touch with either Stansfield or the team’s faculty adviser, Henry Kastner, if they want to get involved.
Stansfield can be reached at Bstansfield@conestogac.on.ca and students can contact Kastner at HKastner@conestogac.on.ca.