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FutureTruck: National champions once again!

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FutureTruck: National champions once again!

FutureTruck towing test

The FutureTruck competition features a variety of tests, including towing capacity. (9K JPG)

For the second year in a row, a team of students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has won the national FutureTruck Competition. The UW-Madison team, based in the College of Engineering, took first place among the 15 teams competing from universities throughout North America. The team scored 841 points out of a possible 1,000 points, outdistancing runner up University of California-Davis by 54 points.

"We're very happy we won," said Mechanical Engineering Faculty Associate Glenn Bower, who advises the college's student automotive programs.

The competition pits student teams who have spent a year modifying sport-utility vehicles provided by the Ford Motor Co. Points are awarded in a number of categories, including handling, braking, fuel efficiency, workmanship, towing capability, off-road performance, design, acceleration, and technical reports.

The competition allows student teams to conduct research and work on better fuel efficiency, emissions, and materials technology for SUVs without being restricted by the technical and financial constraints typically involved in a mass production vehicle.

The UW-Madison FutureTruck team literally rebuilt last year's winning truck, installing a new engine, transmission, frame, and emissions system, according to Bower. It proved to be a great learning experience for the team, although in retrospect it may have made the competition closer, he said. A total of 50 students worked on the truck during the past year, with 16 participating in the competition in Michigan.

"Other than the inside of the truck, we had to totally redo the entire truck, so we felt fortunate to win," he said.

This year's competition was held from June 1-12 at Ford's test tracks in Michigan. The UW-Madison team won a first-place trophy and a check for $6,000 for its win. Following the competition, the UW-Madison FutureTruck stayed at Ford's Dearborn, Michigan, headquarters to take part in Ford's Centennial celebration honoring the company's 100 years in the automotive business.

The UW-Madison team garnered first-place wins in the categories of: best on-road fuel efficiency; best vehicle design report; best off-road performance; best workmanship; and best technical report. The team also won the Delphi Advanced Technology Award.

UW-Madison's other automotive teams also competed in a number of competitions this spring with mixed results. The mini-baja team, competing with two vehicles, finished fourth and 10th at the Society of Automotive Engineers West Mini-Baja competition in Logan, Utah, which featured 104 vehicles. The team finished sixth and 14th at the SAE Midwest Mini-Baja competition in Tipp City, Ohio, where 122 vehicles competed.

The SAE Formula Racing Team finished 28th out of 125 contestants at the SAE Formula competition in Pontiac, Michigan. The team encountered engine problems during the competition, lowering its score and overall finish. The team won third place in the competition for innovation and excellence in powertrain engineering.

In the Clean Snowmobile Competition in Houghton, Michigan, the UW-Madison team took 12th place out of 12 teams competing, and won the award for most sportsmanslike team.


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Date last modified: Wednesday, 09-Jul-2003 16:28:00 CDT
Date created: 09-Jul-2003

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