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UMBC Baja 2012 Year Review
[June 28, 2012, by Steve Storck, Ph.D. student, Mechanical Engineering]—The season was a huge success with UMBC Baja coming out ranked 3rd in the world out of 253 teams. Here is the summary of how we got there for more information please see the full race recaps here. [PDF]
Race 1 – Auburn, Alabama (April 19-22, 2012)
Race 1 was in Auburn, Alabama from April 19-22nd, the team was eager to test out a brand new car with many innovations such as a completely custom continuously variable transmission and passively interconnected rear suspensions, both of which were unique to just our car. Notable results from the first race were 5th in acceleration, 9th in suspension and traction, and 1st in design all while being 1st in cost which resulted in a 6th place overall.
Race 2 – Portland, Oregon (May 2-5, 2012)
The second race was just 9 days later in Portland Oregon. The team had to repair a failed frame member from the last race which took 5 days of long nights in the shop during midterms. Once the car was repaired the team left immediately for the event which required 54 hours driving to get to the race site. Again UMBC’s team had a strong showing with 5th in acceleration, 6th in maneuverability, 6th in sales, and 3rd in hill climb. The team finished 6th again in this race which put us into 3rd place in the overall championship with one race to go.
Race 3 – Burlington, Wisconsin (June 7-10, 2012)
The last race was in Burlington, Wisconsin about 4 weeks later. The team put many long hours into tuning and testing the car. Again this resulted in a strong start to the race with a 3rd in suspension, and 2nd in acceleration. Unfortunately, the car was involved in a collision 45 minutes into the 4 hour endurance race, knocking the team out of a top ten finish in the last race. Even with the disappointing finish to the season, the team had accumulated enough points to finish 3rd overall for the year out of 253 teams!
The team has already identified areas of improvement for next year and has started working on the 2013 vehicle a full 3 months ahead of other universities. Some of the major plans are to upgrade our facility to the level of other top teams which includes finding a source for another lathe and mill to double our capacity since this is a major limitation in manufacturing.