UMKC’s Baja Buggy Team recently returned from Baja SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) in California as champions! This event was the first of three international competitions hosted in the United States by SAE. UMKC Baja Vice President, project design lead and senior in mechanical engineering, Alex Eckhoff, shared more about the team’s experience at this year’s competition.
This year we went into the competition with our biggest rival being ourselves. The previous school record for the Baja competition was placing 21st overall (typically out of 100-120 teams). With that in mind, we were determined to be within the top twenty.
As a team, we faced many challenges. From failing technical inspection for various parts to being audited for the first time in UMKC history, we didn’t let any obstacle keep us from pursuing our goal.
As far as the results, we broke several school records! We placed 13th in Cost, 11th in Acceleration, and 14th in Suspension. We also placed 8th in design, 29th in Maneuverability, and 25th in Hill Climb. We placed 11th overall, just three points shy from being in the top ten.
We are very proud of our team this year and have set our goals even higher for the following competitions. Our goal now is to get in the top 10 and push for top 5 in the world.
To do this, we will focus on fixing any damage to the car caused by the competition, streamlining our design presentations, perfecting our sales presentation and performing CVT tuning which will benefit performance as well as design.
We have made more friends with other teams and have gained a positive reputation with judges at competition. All in all, we couldn’t be more thrilled to compete again at Pittsburg State University later this month.
Story by Alex Eckhoff and Molly Gilstrap.
Baja SAE® consists of 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 incredibly rough terrain. Each team’s goal is to design and build a single-seat, all-terrain, sporting vehicle. The vehicle is to be a prototype for a reliable, maintainable, ergonomic, and economic production vehicle which serves a recreational user market.