Appreciation Letter from Michigan Baja Racing

University of Michigan Baja Racing Team Photo

Dear Performance Titanium Group,

From Michigan Baja Racing we would like to extend our sincere gratitude for your continued sponsorship as we compete in the Baja SAE series. Material donated by PTG has been instrumental in designing lighter, more durable components to endure the obstacles and terrain our vehicle must traverse.

Every year, Michigan Baja Racing redesigns a single-seat off-road vehicle to compete in SAE sanctioned competitions across the country. With the COVID-19 pandemic taking the world by storm for the past year, we had to make some tough decisions which culminated in reusing much of MBR31, the 2020 competition vehicle. Still, with the university working to provide limited shop access, we were able to make some major improvements to the vehicle over the past year. Most notably, we upgraded the newly added 4WD system to increase ground clearance and provide driver selectability. MBR31 v2 was unveiled in April and will compete at Baja SAE Louisville towards the end of May.

PTG has provided multiple different titanium alloys that have been used in our vehicle’s drivetrain to reduce not only static mass, but rotating inertia. Grade 5 Titanium was used to machine shafts that support roller bearings in our Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT). This weight reduction is especially critical because it is at the engine where rotating inertia is magnified. In addition, our gearbox shafts and inboard universal joint are made from Ti 6Al-6V-2Sn donated by PTG. This has allowed for much tighter packaging in the rear of the vehicle leading to superior ground clearance and suspension geometry.

Titanium inboard universal joints
Titanium inboard universal joints

Due to COVID-19, we are only attending one competition instead of the usual three. However, we are excited to test our designs at Baja SAE Louisville this coming weekend. The four-day event starts with technical inspection on Days 1 and 2. Dynamic events, including acceleration, hill climb, and maneuverability take place on Day 3. Finally, a four-hour, wheel-to-wheel endurance race takes place on Day 4. Michigan Baja has had a history of success with five national titles over the past seven years, and we are hopeful to build upon that legacy at Louisville.

Looking forward to 2022, we will most certainly be revisiting the design of our 4WD system. In particular, it represents untapped potential for optimization and weight reduction. We’re excited to apply advanced materials to these components and work with PTG to integrate more titanium into the design of our vehicle.

From all of us here in Ann Arbor, MI—thank you! We couldn’t do this without your support!


Michigan Baja Racing

CVT roller shafts turned on a CNC lathe
CVT roller shafts turned on a CNC lathe