The UMass Amherst Supermileage Vehicle Team successfully fielded two vehicles this year at the annual Society of Automotive Engineers Supermileage Vehicle competition, held at the Eaton Corporation Proving Grounds in Marshall, Michigan, on June 4th and 5th.
“Our ‘old reliable’ car, the Homewrecker, finished tenth with a strong showing of 817 MPG,” reports the team’s faculty advisor, Professor David Schmidt of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department. “Though we have achieved higher mileage as a team, this was a peak for this particular car. It will now be retired.”
The SMV team’s other car, the “new and lovely VV-CF1 (Vroom Vroom - Carbon Fiber 1),” was completed just before the competition and, due to lack of time, had to compete with the stock lawnmower engine donated by Briggs & Stratton. This prevented it from getting particularly high mileage (536 MPG), but the vehicle ran successfully and won the award for "Vehicle with the Greatest Visual Appeal."
“We were very happy to have it put together in time to run,” explains Professor Schmidt. “Our plan for next year is to use a sleeved-down engine and a new transmission. We expect great things from this car.”
A 14-member team, including drivers Benna Cheung, Maryam Moulai, and Matt Jarrett, worked all year to field the two cars. Since the team brought three drivers, and since good sportsmanship is an important part of the competition, UMass Amherst loaned a driver to a team from the Kingdom of Bahrain, whose driver could not get a visa. (June 2009)