Baja team improves speed and confidence at international competition
With its 42nd-place finish at the Baja SAE competition in Maryland this past spring, Memorial’s Baja team is pleased with its overall performance and final results.
One hundred universities competed in the international competition that consists of three regional competitions that simulate real-world engineering design projects and their related challenges. Engineering students are tasked to design and build an off-road vehicle that will survive the severe punishment of rough terrain and sometimes even water. The event included competitions in acceleration, hill climbing, maneuverability, suspension and traction and endurance.
“We jumped 10 spots over last year,” said co-captain Jumana Joury. “The biggest improvement over last year was in the endurance race. We completed 29 laps in the endurance race, compared to four laps last year. We had very minor breakdowns, which only happened when other people bumped into us. Overall, the car was a much sturdier model and we were able to stay on track for a long time.”
Another highlight was in the maneuverability event. When the team left St. John’s it was -2 C outside; it was 30 C at the time of their arrival in Maryland. Their vehicle’s setup was not suitable for the warmer temperatures.
“In the beginning the car didn’t handle very well because things weren’t calibrated properly,” Alex Clark, co-captain. “That first day, during lunch, we changed the entire setup, such as suspension, tires and steering angle. Our body panels expanded and warped due to the hot temperatures so we had to re-do them, as well.”
Over the course of the four-day competition, for the first time ever, Memorial Baja was able to make all allowed attempts of each dynamic event, and finished each one.
Dr. Geoff Rideout, a mechanical engineering professor and faculty advisor for the team, travels with the team each year and was impressed with how the team handled challenges and how the team competed overall.
“As always, the team members worked very well together under a lot of stress and in close quarters. They learn a lot about collaboration and teamwork, and those skills are as essential to successful engineering practice as are technical analysis and design.”
With their strongest car to-date, the team is now fine-tuning its design to make the car faster for the 2016 competition.
If you wish to sponsor Team Memorial Baja, please visit the team’s Go Fund Me page.