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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

Bobcat Racing readies engine for first competition

Sarah Manning
Jade Maldonado (left), electrical engineering sophomore, discusses the electrical equipment used for the Bobcat Racing vehicle with Jon Ramos (right), a mechanical engineering sophomore, Friday, Sept. 1, 2023, at the Ingram School of Engineering.

In 2018, a project worth $120 million ushered in a new era of opportunity for engineering students. The Bobcat Racing team was all but abandoned as a result of COVID-19 combined with a lack of funding for the club. 

The club is set to take part in the Formula SAE, a national engineering design competition in Michigan, May 2024. The competition is held internationally, and provides an opportunity for students to put their academic knowledge to use in a high risk, high reward environment. 

Abhimanyu Sharotry, a research engineer at Texas State, came to be the faculty advisor in 2022, aiding the revival of Bobcat Racing. Sharotry was intrigued to join Bobcat Racing while he was a graduate student in industrial engineering at Texas State. 

“I share that passion of racing with the team,” Sharotry said. “It’s my honor to serve the team in one way or another in any way I can help them with such experience.”

The team has utilized manufacturing equipment available in Ingram Hall’s “Maker Space” to design and build a functioning vehicle for the competition. The recently developed space is available to all Texas States students. Members of Bobcat Racing come to spend the majority of their time perfecting the vehicle. 

Bobcat Racing President and electrical lead Thomas Fenn, an engineering senior, joined the team in 2021 when the team was restored. Fenn has been the president of Bobcat Racing since 2022 and aspires to enhance and develop the team’s skills each year. 

Along with building the team’s development, Fenn hopes to build his individual career experience and feels that Bobcat Racing is a beneficial hands-on opportunity to do so.

“It’s a magnet for your resume,” Fenn said. “There’s going to be a lot of jobs and roles that you fulfill on the team that are almost identical to what you’d be doing in your chosen profession.”

Along with Fenn’s resume growing, there are also opportunities for non-engineering students like Hunter Helenza, a marketing sophomore. Because Bobcat Racing functions as a small race car manufacturing company, Halenza is able to oversee the funds and sponsorships, including Redbull and Athena manufacturing for the team. 

The upcoming competition categories include “Business Plan Presentation” and “Cost and Manufacturing” that requires teams to prepare as a car manufacturing company would. 

“Bobcat Racing has helped me grow my knowledge and application of business skills,” Helenza said. “Unlike classes, it’s not just theory. I am communicating with real companies, developing real partnerships and budgeting real money.”

For now, members of the team are hopeful to have good results for the 2024 competition.

“We’re in a pretty good spot now,” Fenn said. “We have a pretty good understanding of where we’re going, which is, one of the first times we’ve had that.”

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