The CWRU Motorsports team continued the annual tradition of attending the University of Louisville Midnight Mayhem competition this fall.
This year's competition, Midnight Mayhem XI, departed from the Nickota Motorsports Park and was held for the first time at a purpose-built track, the Drop Forge Proving Grounds, on the University of Louisville campus.
This change in venue was done so that official Baja SAE competitions can be held at this site, which will be happening in the upcoming 2020 season.
As in 2018, this year's Midnight Mayhem competition was a two-day long event. The team brought their 2018 and 2019 competition vehicles to the competition, along with a slew of new members and experimental parts.
On Friday evening, both of the team's cars passed the tech inspection and went on to compete in that night's "Sundown Showdown" relay races. Sophomore members Mike Buccieri and Adeline Millman put on quite a show "sending it" over the jumps and overtaking competitors on the short-circuit course.
During Saturday's daytime dynamic events, the team had another extremely impressive performance in the Acceleration event. Junior member Caden Casanova posted a 0-150 foot acceleration time of 4.43 seconds behind the wheel of the 2019 competition vehicle. This run remained in 1st place on the leaderboard for most of the day, until narrowly being beaten by the University of Michigan, seeking revenge for their defeat in Rochester, with a time of 4.37 seconds. This will definitely be an exciting rivalry to see play out at the 2020 competitions.
Junior Member Tobin Gevelber was behind the wheel of Model F for the Acceleration event, which was running an experimental CVT. Although the runs in this car were not as quick as the 2019 car, they provided valuable data which will be used to drive the design of the 2020 car.
The team also had great showings in the other dynamic events. Tom Filipovic and Wyatt Slifcak posted respectable times in the Maneuverability event, and Leland Frantz and Clay Hamilton had smooth runs of the BajaCross course.
The CWRU Motorsports team headed into that night's endurance race gridded in 2nd place (2019 car) and in 16th place (2018 car) thanks to the team's earlier acceleration times. Senior member Owen Yang began the four hour race behind the wheel of the SR5 and senior member Pierce Laing began behind the wheel of Model F.
Owen Yang got off to a blistering start, immediately overtaking the University of Michigan to take 1st place. Unfortunately, this is where the good news ends as he was to become the race's first victim of a tie-rod breaking log in a poorly-lit corner of the course. Luck wasn't any better for Pierce Laing in Model F, as he was one of the many first-lap victims to become stuck in the course's mud pit that was soon closed off. These first lap mishaps foreshadowed a race of short-lived driver stints.
Wyatt Slifcak, Matt Stewart, Tobin Gevelber, Caden Casanova, Mike Buccieri, Leland Frantz, Addie Millman, and Clay Hamilton took turns driving the two cars for the rest of the endurance race. Matt, Tobin, and Mike were the only drivers to remain in the race for their entire hour long stints. The rest of the stints were cut very short due to drivers getting lost on the track, cars rolling over after being "sent" over jumps, and part failures caused by the abuse that the cars were victim to throughout the race.
Despite the less than ideal endurance race performance, team members had a great time at the laid-back event. The new members all participated as recovery crew volunteers for the endurance race, experiencing the excitement and carnage of a Baja race for their first time.
The team returned to Cleveland with lung ailments caused by the extreme amount of dust from the endurance race and two disabled Baja cars.
All of the CWRU Motorsports members are now excited to focus on finalizing the design of the 2020 competition vehicle. Follow the team's social media accounts and subscribe to this newsfeed to get all of the latest updates on the team's progress.