The Louisville Baja SAE team completed its best season in school history in June! The team placed top ten in all three international competitions in which over one hundred schools from across the country and other countries like Canada, Mexico, and Brazil competed.
Coming off of the school’s previous best season placing 5th and 9th overall in the two competitions the team attended in 2012, the Louisville Baja team looked to improve upon their vehicle’s performance and make the leap from top ten to on the podium in 2013. The design team developed a vehicle that was fifty pounds lighter than the 2012 model and had a more efficient drivetrain making the 2013 vehicle faster than any previous U of L Baja car.
The 2013 competitions began in late April in Cookeville, Tennessee. The team battled major reliability issues with the new vehicle throughout the entire race weekend; however, the team managed to secure an 8th place overall finish in the competition along with an award for First Place in Vehicle Design over Cornell University and the University of Maryland Baltimore County!
In May, the team headed to the West Coast for the second installment of the Baja SAE season. With not all but, the majority of the reliability issues resolved, the team placed 5th overall in Washington by placing in the top ten in all but two events at the competition. The team again placed in the top three in Vehicle Design receiving second place; the University of Maryland Baltimore County just edged out the top spot.
The final competition was held in Rochester, New York in early June. The team started off well placing third in Vehicle Design, fourth in Acceleration, and ninth in Hill Climb. Problems arose for the team in Maneuverability and Suspension and Traction in which both events the team did not complete the courses. The team knew that in order to have a high finish overall in the final competition they had to perform extremely well in the Endurance Race. The University of Michigan Ann Arbor had won the previous two endurance races this season and they were going to be a tough team to beat in the final race. After nearly four hours of racing only seconds separated the Cards from the Wolverines with only one, two and half mile lap remaining. In the final turns of the race, the Louisville driver passed Michigan taking the checkered flag by only two seconds! This victory in the endurance race hurdled the team to a Second Place in Overall Performance award for the final competition of the season! This is the highest finish a team from U of L has ever received and also the highest three combined finishes for a single season from a U of L team!
The Louisville Baja SAE team is looking to better itself in the coming 2014 season and is currently underway with the design of the new vehicle that will propel them to the number one spot on the leaderboard.