A recent edition of the Terps Racing Baja vehicle.
ENME408: Selected Topics in Engineering Design, better know as Terps Racing, an elective class within the mechanical engineering program, changed its format over the summer. It transitioned from a two team structure (Formula or Baja) to a single team configuration where all students will work together as a cooperative entity on both vehicles. Students enrolled in ENME408 are expected to design, build, test, promote, and race their vehicles to best represent UMD on the student racing circuit against other U.S. and international college teams. SAE International sponsors the racing events which are held at various locations throughout the country. Faculty and students seem to have a positive outlook on the new team structure as they begin their work to surpass last year?s achievements.
When asked why the two teams have combined, faculty advisor Greg Schultz replied, ?By recombining the teams we hope to expose the students to a broader set of vehicle design knowledge and improve communication amongst the students.? Schultz, as well as the returning students, have expressed excitement over the new structure. Sophomore ME major Michael Jaja and senior Physical Sciences major Brian Sevilla of Terps Racing believe that merging the two teams will be exceedingly beneficial to the students enrolled in the class. According to Jaja and Sevilla, the opportunity to work on both the Baja and Formula vehicles will broaden the learning experience of the Terps Racing team.
Last year the two teams returned from their competitions with their heads held high. The Baja and Formula teams both placed 4th overall out of a field of 100 and 120, respectively. The Baja team competed in the SAE Carolina event and placed 1st out of all U.S. teams. The Formula SAE competition was held in Michigan where the team placed 1st in skidpad, 2nd in acceleration, 3rd in autocross, and tied for 4th in design judging. After a brilliant year filled with much success, it may be surprising that such a drastic change is being made to the program. Schultz combats any skepticism by declaring that ?This [change] will actually help the team be more competitive in the future.? He also adds that in the long run, the goal of Terps Racing is to ?win each year while providing students with a fun learning experience and prepare them for careers in engineering.?
The Terps Racing team started working this past summer to prepare for the upcoming years. Members of the program organized and cleaned the lab in order to get ready for the fall semester and a few students even got together and initiated the design for the 2012 car. The cars from last year?s contests will be revamped and reused for the 2011 competitions. According to Schultz, in order to improve the Formula car for this year?s competition, the team will focus mainly on optimizing the aerodynamics, reducing suspension compliance, improving grip, and reducing weight. As for the Baja vehicle, the students will work together to adjust the rear suspension, optimize and tune the CVT (continuously variable transmission), and improve driver comfort.
Terps Racing is looking forward to another successful year in competition as the team plans to compete in one event each for Baja and Formula during the spring semester. Students will take the Formula car to an SAE race in Fontana, California and the Baja race location has yet to be determined.
Students interested in participating in Terps Racing can register for ENME408: Selected Topics in Engineering Design, or join the Terps Racing Club.
For more information about Terps Racing, please visit: www.terpsracing.umd.edu.
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