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A Memorable Year for the UMBC Mini Baja Team: Team Achieves 2nd Overall in Three Races While Maintaining its Grip on 1st Place in Cost Effectiveness

June 21, 2010 5:07 PM

[06/21/2010]--The last SAE Baja race of the 2010 season took place in Rochester, New York from June 10-13. This was the last of the three races in North America. The UMBC Baja team competed in all three races for the first time which made UMBC eligible for the Iron Team award that is given to the top three teams as determined from all three races combined. Based on the results of the previous two races (South Carolina, 6th overall and No 1 in lowest cost entry and Baja West held in Bellingham, Washington, 8th overall and again, No 1 in lowest cost entry) going into the last race, the UMBC Mini Baja team was in 3rd place, just 100 points behind the two Canadians teams Laval and École de technologie supérieure (ETS).

Following the cost audit, the team went through the preliminary design presentation with a strong performance. With Design complete, the team entered the technical inspection line, one of the most stressful parts of the day as the car is required to pass strict rules under the scrutiny of the technical inspectors before it will be allowed to race. Modifications to the vehicles are often required, leaving teams scrambling to get their car fixed and back through inspection before the day ends. In an incredible turn of events, UMBC made it through the technical inspection with no adjustments necessary, a UMBC first! The team quickly made it through the dynamic brake inspection and were able to concentrate the final hours of the day fine tuning the car. Parts were oiled and checked to make sure everything was functioning at its highest level. During the tune-up, the team was informed by an official that the preliminary Design score had qualified the team for the Design finals. This meant the UMBC entry was one of the top 7 cars in design and would be required to make another design presentation – though this would last an hour instead of only ten minutes. In the end, a panel of industry experts rated the UMBC Baja entry as having the 5th most superior design overall. With this result, the static events were over and UMBC Baja was ranked 2nd coming into the next day’s dynamic events.

Acceleration: 6th

With the strong 5th place finish, UMBC was strongly in the running for the series championship. After a totaling of points, UMBC Baja finished in 2nd place behind ETS. In the end, the team took home three trophies: 1st in Cost, 5th Overall, and, our most coveted prize, 2nd in North America and the top USA team.

This article was developed by graduate student Steven Storck and Dr. Panos Charalambides.

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