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July 9, 2009

Teamwork & Torque: UMBC’s SAE Baja Team Places in Top 20 Nationally

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Photo Caption: A UMBC Baja SAE team member kicks up a rooster tail of dirt during a race.

UMBC’s Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) chapter recently placed among the top 20 teams in the country in their second Baja SAE competition of the year in Burlington, Wi.

Baja SAE is an international event where student teams design, build and race an off-road vehicle. The competitions feature various tests of car performance and design as well as an endurance race. UMBC’s team has traditionally shown strength in the cost category, building high-performing cars on much lower budgets than bigger and more well-financed university teams.

At the Wisconsin event, UMBC’s team placed second in the cost category, third in suspension and traction and sixth in the drag-race style acceleration event. This year’s cars featured a redesigned gearbox which was built with the help of the Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville’s Manufacturing Technology Program.


Warren DeVries, Dean of UMBC’s College of Engineering and Information Technology, was on hand to cheer on the students, all of whom are mechanical engineering majors.

“I was very impressed,” said DeVries. “It was really amazing how well we competed against over 100 engineering schools, including ones from France, Canada and Mexico. Our team placed higher than engineering schools two to three times bigger than UMBC’s, including ones with their own trailer and mobile machine shop for their vehicles. When you combine innovation with a lot of diligence and determination, you can accomplish great things.”

“I am particularly proud of the team's perseverance in the endurance race when the team collectively disassembled the vehicle's entire rear drivetrain to fix a broken bearing in the new gearbox,” said Mark Foster ‘09, outgoing president of UMBC Baja SAE. “Our crew got the vehicle fixed and back in the race within an hour. I don’t know of many teams who could have handled the setback any better.

Kudos to the following mechanical engineering graduate and undergraduate students and recent Class of 2009 alumni who comprised the UMBC Baja SAE team and represented UMBC so well:

James Clerkin, Samuel Markkula, Steve Storck, Pete Mech, Caroline Scheck, Scott Jones, Justin Meserve, Chuck Hebert, Eric Meyer, Phil Kendrick, Dan Caldwell, Dave Outen, David Harvey, Steve Harvey, David Will and Joe Cesea.

Posted by crose at July 9, 2009 11:43 AM