When the engines begin to roar at 2009 Baja Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Alabama at Auburn University April 16-19, the UTC team’s entry will be an entirely new vehicle built and designed “from the ground up” according to Ben Klingler, Project Manager.
“The main unique design feature of this year’s car is the use of a hydrostatic transmission,” Klingler said. “In the past a belt driven continuously variable transmission has been used.”
On Friday, April 17, the UTC team vehicle will undergo tech inspection. There will be an engine check by Briggs & Stratton, the company that donates the same engine to all vehicles entered in the race; a tech inspection by Honda and brake test by Eagle Motorsports.
Saturday, April 18 heats up with four short dynamic events: Acceleration;
Traction (the former “Log Pull”); Maneuverability and Suspension (the former “Suspension and Traction”).
An endurance event Sunday, April 19 promises difficult obstacles in the Sandbox, the Guardrail Jump (it’s “twice as high (whump!)” according to the SAE website) and the bumpy ride on Skid Road.
“From looking at the posted information, it looks like this year is going to provide challenges, but nothing that we cannot handle,” Klingler said.
Everyone on the team gets a chance to drive after the vehicle is completed. Drivers for the competition will be selected so more experienced students will be behind the wheel. The final driver selections have not been made.
This year DENSO North America Corporation provided the UTC team with a $7000 grant. Dr. Rob Goulet, who has served as faculty advisor for the UTC Mini Baja participants, received the grant approval from DENSO. DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, Inc. is a global company located in Maryville. It is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of advanced technology, components and systems for all major automakers.
Additional sponsors include Hydrogear and Alstom.
The 2009 UTC team includes:
Ben Klingler – Project Manager
Larry Ardry – Team Captain
Roger LeMond – Fabrication Manager
Megan Miller – Reporting Manager
Matt Brooks – Cost Reporting Manager