Cal Poly Pomona’s Baja SAE racing team emerged from the mud to capture fourth place in the grueling Baja SAE competition on Memorial Day in Pittsburg, Kansas.
More than 100 teams participated in the event, with less than half surviving the suspension course, nicknamed Mount Doom, a towering pile of rubble, concrete and tires. “Even to get to Mount Doom, drivers first had to navigate their vehicles through errant chunks of concrete, wooden logs, large tires, a sharp turn and a trench of muddy water,” reported the Joplin Globe.
While multiple cars slid off course, Cal Poly Pomona’s driver Paul Doxie, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering, was one of the first to successfully guide his car over Mount Doom to the finish.
The teams are judged on both dynamic events (acceleration, maneuverability, sled pull/hill climb, suspension, and endurance) and static events (design, cost and sales presentation).
This year, the Bronco Racing team built their car using a brand new design with an electronic continuously variable transmission (ECVT). This allows the engine to run at peak horsepower with deviations as much as 200 RPM from the set point. The ECVT system is one of the main portions of the team’s design presentation and earned the team fourth place for design.
Only one other team has successfully used an ECVT transmission in competition – ETS Racing (École de technologie supérieure, in Montreal), which took first place in the California event.
“The ECVT is getting a lot of talk in the community,” reports Kyle Craig, a senior graduating with a mechanical engineering degree next this spring. “Now that the ECVT has proven reliable over the three-hour time span [for the endurance event], you should expect a top five finish during endurance in Illinois from Bronco Racing.”
In Kansas, the team also has top finishes for maneuverability placing 8th, sled pull at 14th and endurance coming at 19th with some of the fastest lap times.
The high finish in Kansas and the 12th place finish in the California event puts Bronco Racing in position to make a run for the Iron Man Award, given for highest total score from all three Baja SAE events this year – California, Kansas and Illinois. The third and final Baja SAE event will be in Peoria, Illinois, from June 7 to June 10.
The Baja Racing team has 15 student members. Clifford Stover, professor of engineering, serves as the team’s advisor.