By Tim Williams

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — They are known for academics, but now the University of Maryland Baltimore County is making a name in the racing world.

The school has created an off-road race car, and as Tim Williams explains, they will now compete on a world stage.

It’s not your typical classroom, but at the University of Maryland Baltimore County technology is moving at an accelerated pace.

“A lot of things in the class sometimes, the teacher may explain the concept [but] they seem a little bit obtuse. But you come down to Baja and you understand looking at things how to design stuff,” said Eric Meyer, UMBC senior Baja Team. 

Baja is a collegiate design competition. Nearly 140 international college teams compete in events and they must economically design, build and drive off-road racing vehicles.

“So what we’ve done here is actually built a car from the ground up. Over 80 percent of the components are actually designed and built by team members. And we have anywhere between 11 and 20 members. There will be 12 members going to the first race,” said Steven Storck, mechanical engineering student.

The race is in Birmingham, Ala., and it is sponsored by The Society of Automotive Engineers, also known as SAE.

In 2010, UMBC’s racing team claimed top honors for “performance” in three national Baja events. This year, with added modifications, they expect to build on its past.

“People who work on the drive train of this car will then go into the automotive industry with a sense of ‘I want to make this car more fuel efficient. How do I do that? Well, look at what I worked on in the Baja project,'” said Storck.

In the end, lessons equate to success and hopefully top honors again this year.


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