After the disappointment at Michigan, the team was determined to reach the full potential of the vehicle and finish in the top 10 at Lincoln. Between the two competitions, the entire car had been pushed to its limits during testing. The team had logged over 350 miles of testing on the vehicle and the vehicle tune was highly refined. Many improvements had been made to the two components that failed during Michigan and the car was much more reliable.
The first day of competition went extremely well, the vehicle passed every step of the technical inspection on the first attempt and we were able to get the car out onto the small practice track that was set up. Using the resulting data, the car was further adjusted to the extremely high-traction surface of the Lincoln site.
The team performed well in the cost and presentation events resulting in 15th and 21st positions, respectively. For the first time in four years the team made it to the design finals and ended up placing 4th overall! Design finals were an incredibly rewarding experience from which the knowledge gained will carry over into the new vehicle’s design. The other design finalists included: the University of Washington, the University of Kansas – Lawrence, the University of Texas – Arlington, Missouri University S&T, McGill University, Centro Universitario Da FEI, and Texas A&M University – College Station.
Then in the dynamic events, the team placed 13th and 2nd overall in Skid Pad and Acceleration, respectively. Another top 3 finish in the Acceleration event! In Autocross, the car setup was much improved over the set up at Michigan and our fastest lap time placed us in 11th overall. Our drivers reported that the car felt very balanced and we were in good shape for the endurance event. The rest of the day was spent preparing the car for Endurance. No shortcuts were being taken after what happened at Michigan, every single fastener and component was inspected.
In Endurance, the first driver performed exceptionally well, posting lap times rivaling those of the fastest teams. The car looked and sounded great. Then, at driver change, the car fired up with very little hesitation and our second driver also pushed the car to its limits. Indescribable emotion filled the team as the car took the checkered flag and finished Endurance. We used 1.013 gallons of fuel to complete the endurance, an astonishing 40% less than the previous year, placing us in 14th in the event. We were unsure how we placed in Endurance, but SAE made us re-tech (which they do to the top-finishing competitors), which was a first for the current team members. We, of course, passed with no issues. During the award ceremony, they listed off the teams that finished all events that were not in the top 10…. And our name wasn’t called, we made the top ten! After a dramatic listing of the top ten teams, we heard our named called in the 6th position! The first top ten finish for the team in over 4 years! We ended up finishing 13th in Endurance.
We cannot thank our sponsors enough for giving us the opportunity to experience what we did in Lincoln. Not only did we learn many technical and life skills that will help us in our careers, but we built memories and friendships that will last for entire lives. Without your support, none of this would have been possible.
We are extremely excited for the upcoming year! Eight of the nine current team members will be returning to the team and we are expecting great things. We hope to see everyone back on board for the 2012-2013 year! The vehicle design is already underway.