The first Dynamic event is the Acceleration. It’s a simple 75m drag race and the fastest from one end of the track to the other is the winner. A big turbocharged engine, functioning launch control, and perfect shifts are the keys to making a tiny SAE car rocket the big seven-five.
The University of Delaware car launches for one of its Acceleration runs. If that school sounds familiar, that’s because this team's 2011 car was featured last August on MotoIQ. Lots of changes were made to the 2012 car, however some suspension quirks and an overall lack of power hampered this car’s performance.
Overall, the event was pretty tame. The biggest casualty was Stevens Institute of Technology who came back with an engine billowing lots of smoke. Turns out a miscue on the dyno had overboosted their Honda CBR engine and had damaged the rings. 12 psi on a stock CBR doesn’t seem to work too well…The engine smoked, but they were able to compete in every other event of the week before it finally gave up 3 laps into the Enduro.
That isn't just water coming out of the back… This was Steven’s first SAE competition in years and they did very well for themselves. They also used some brilliant ghetto engineering in their car. For example, their intake restrictor was actually the handle to a baseball bat! They also repurposed the bat’s grip as a shift knob and used a Tupperware bin as a battery box. And like an asshat I forgot to take pictures of all those things.
The winner of the Acceleration event was the Universidade Estadual de Campinas, another Brazillian team, with a time of 4.047 seconds. A relatively large gap of 0.073 seconds separated second place Michigan State from the top spot. 0.009 seconds behind Michigan was University of Wisconsin (Madison) rounding out the podium. Purdue (West Lafayette) and Oregon Institute of Technology completed the top 5 with times of 4.161 and 4.165 seconds respectively.
This team would have made old Ayrton Senna himself proud. Their car would finish 17th overall. If not for a 50 point penalty, they would have finished 14th. Unfortunately, I do not know what the penalty was for.
Up next was Skidpad. The skidpad SAE uses is 60 feet in diameter. I don’t need to explain what makes a car good in skidpad, so we will get right into the results! The Missouri University of Science and technology was the only team to run the skidpad in under 5 seconds, giving them the well-deserved win.
Missouri Science & Tech usually has a strong showing at SAE. Crunching the numbers, their car pulled 1.48g around the skidpad. Amazing! Maybe those wings really do work after all. That 4.992 second run was their average time. During the left-hand circle, their car gripped at a stunning 1.55g.
What is even more amazing is that Missouri’s car runs a huge wing package. Not only do those wings not really help at the low speeds of the skidpad, but also their weight should have hurt more than it helped. Obviously their car was on rails! The University of South Florida, in an un-winged car, took second place with a time of 5.017 seconds. Florida was followed by Texas A&M University at 5.025 seconds, Centro Universitario Da FEI with a time of 5.107 seconds, and the University of Illinois at 5.119 seconds. While no cars were taken out by the skidpad, a number of cars did spin or skid off course. Delaware was one such car, fighting some major understeer and skidding off on their first pass. The University of British Columbia had a half-spin and stalled during one of their runs.