A record number of teams are expected to participate in the SAE 2012 Snowmobile Challenge, sponsored by the snowmobile manufacturers along with other supporting businesses, set for March 5-10, 2012 at Michigan Technological University.
Held at the university's Keweenaw Research Center, the Snowmobile Challenge is a collegiate design competition of the Society of Automotive Engineers. Engineering students from participating schools take a stock snowmobile and reengineer it.
The snowmobiles will compete in a variety of events including emissions, noise, fuel economy/endurance, acceleration, handling, static display, cold start and design.
The university snowmobiles are expected to be cost-effective and comfortable for the operator to drive. The intent of the competition is to design a snowmobile that will primarily be ridden on groomed snowmobile trails. The use of unreliable, expensive solutions is strongly discouraged.
Modern snowmobiles are engineered to meet the current standards for noise and emissions. Teams are expected to add innovative solutions for improving on performance of the base sled that they start with. Design judges (written and oral) will be looking for innovations and incorporating that into their scores.
The minimum performance expectations for a trail snowmobile are set by the rules as a sled that by design will go 100 miles without refueling and can attain a trail speed of 45 miles per hour on a smooth trail.
Students will be trying to reduce friction and improve efficiency of the entire drivetrain.
The snowmobile manufacturers are major sponsors of the event.
More information is available from the Society of Automotive Engineers, the Michigan Tech Clan Snowmobile Challenge site and the Keweenaw Research Center www.mtukrc.org/.