UTC’s Racing Mocs beat Georgia Tech, UT Knoxville and the University of Alabama by placing 16th of 100 teams at the 2009 Baja Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Alabama at Auburn University April 16-19. This year’s entry was an entirely new vehicle built and designed “from the ground up” according to Ben Klingler, Project Manager.
Klingler said there are no gears and no belts in this type of vehicle—he compared it to an automatic transmission. Only three hydrostatic transmission vehicles were entered into the race. Klinger said by ranking 16th overall and 15th in the endurance race, the Racing Mocs gave the reputation of the hydrostatic transmission vehicle “a good leg up.”
The Baja SAE Alabama event was one of three regional competitions where engineering students must design and build an off-road vehicle. They are also responsible for planning and manufacturing some parts of their entry.
Students participated in four short dynamic events: Acceleration; Traction (the former “Log Pull”); Maneuverability and Suspension (the former “Suspension and Traction”). An endurance event, the Guardrail Jump and a bumpy ride on “Skid Road” finished the competition.
Saying this was “one of the best Baja teams ever at UTC,” Klingler was proud that everyone got along well and worked together for a great finish.
The hallmark of the SAE Baja Society competition is a friendly give and take between teams, and team members said this year everyone was very helpful. The Racing Mocs enjoyed assisting other teams and in turn receiving assistance from others when needed. “We got suggestions from other teams right on the spot, helping us decide what works,” said team member Matt Brooks.
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.
Faculty who attended and supported the team at the competition included Dean Will Sutton and Drs.Gary McDonald, Charles Knight and Ron Goulet.
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