Blazer Motorsports isn't just for engineering students

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shell car design insideStudents from the Department of Art and Art history are involved with designing the Shell Eco-Marathon car, proving the project isn't just for engineering students. These designs were created in Doug Barrett's ARS 495-AH Bloom Studio fall 2017 class; the Viridian option will be used for the April competition.

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This semester, UAB students will build two cars from scratch: one, an eco-friendly cart designed to go as far as it can on as little energy as possible, and the other, an industrial-strength off-road vehicle built to handle deep ruts and big boulders.

Both those cars will race in national competitions later this spring – but to get there, Blazer Motorsports needs more than mechanical engineering know-how to compete and win. The team is searching for students of all disciplines — from graphic design to public health to business and marketing — to take UAB to the finish line.

Smart students, smart cars

The Shell Eco-Marathon, which will be held April 19-22 in Sonoma, California, requires a team of UAB students to design, build and present a car that can go a distance of one mile using the least amount of energy possible. Certain specifications are provided, but beyond that, the effort is up entirely to the student team.

For the Baja SAE Kansas competition, scheduled May 17-20 in Pittsburg, Kansas, students must build a single-seat, all-terrain sporting off-road vehicle that can survive the severe punishment of rough terrain. The cart is intended to be a prototype for a reliable and economic vehicle that could be released commercially.

Blazer Motorsports is looking for students interested in:

  • Finance

  • Marketing

  • Mass communications

  • Public relations

  • Social media management

  • Sustainability

  • Art and graphic design

Those interested in joining the Shell Eco-Marathon or Baja SAE Kansas teams can email Steve Thompson at

Mechanical engineering students interested in the drafting and manual building of the design cars are encouraged to apply for the Shell and Baja teams, but Steve Thompson, field project manager for mechanical engineering and the Shell team mentor, said the groups needs students from various fields.

“It’s probably only 40 percent actually building the cars,” Thompson said.

At the Shell competition, the team also can win awards for creating an integrated communications campaign that uses both social and traditional media channels, technical innovation and ingenuity in creation of the car and highlighting the importance of road and behavioral safety in the operation of the car.

At Baja, students must make a sales presentation to hypothetical corporate executives in marketing, production, finance and engineering that the UAB-designed car is the best choice for the market.

Students interested in joining the Shell Eco-Marathon or Baja SAE Kansas teams should email Steve Thompson at