Cody Bulkley’s room was always full of cars as a kid. But now, the 22-year-old Oregon Tech student has channeled an affinity for mechanics into racing. As director of the Formula Society of Automotive Engineering (SAE) racing club at Oregon Tech, Bulkley helps facilitate design, building, testing and racing of the car for competition.
The university’s racing club teams, which include the Baja Rally team that races an off-road style car, are hosting a free tour of club facilities and cars on March 3 at 1 p.m. at Cornett Hall. The public is invited to attend.
“It seems like there are a lot of people that are really interested in cars, and specifically race cars and they don’t even know we exist,” Bulkley said.
“We’ll show them our facilities — You’ve got some state-of-the-art stuff going on. It should be pretty entertaining.”
Members of the university’s formula and Baja rally car racing teams will give demonstrations and showcase the cars and the shops where they are built.
“We’re one of very few teams in Formula SAE that can actually say that,” Bulkley said, of the in-house built cars. “A lot of people just buy their stuff.”
Bulkley is pursuing degrees in computer engineering technology and embedded systems engineering at Oregon Tech. He emphasized the club has members from all disciplines who have an interest in cars.
Lead engineer for the club and engineering student Robert Duncan oversees design and manufacturing of the formula SAE cars for competition. Duncan, 24, designed the cooling system and the new aerodynamic components of the club’s car, and a few “odds and ends” here and there, he said.
“Everything physical about the car, that’s kind of my thing,” Duncan said.
The car being prepared for the 2015 competition weighs in at 450 pounds, with the goal of building a lighter car each year, according to Bulkley.
The formula team will face off for a competition in Lincoln, Neb., in June. He said the team often has faced Division I universities. The Baja Rally car team, also part of the Oregon Tech Racing Club, competes in Washougal, Wash., in May.
“Not only do students gain engineering skills to advance what they’ve learned in school, but they’re also going to be able to learn the team and business side of things,” Bulkley said. “Half of the points given at competition are based off of marketing, business or design skills. So they get that real world experience before they even graduate. And that allows them to enhance their resume, so you can actually get a job that you like rather than starting low and moving up.”
Attendees of the tour can get up close to the vehicles and see the shops where Baja Rally and Formula SAE cars are designed and built. Those attending the tour are encouraged to dress for weather as car demonstrations are planned outside.