On May 14, 2018, over 200 students and 81 student-built vehicles competed in the 30th annual SuperMileage Challenge sponsored by the Minnesota Technology and Engineering Educators Association (MTEEA).
A student-built vehicle, powered by a 2.4 horsepower Briggs-Stratton lawnmower engine, must travel a total of 36 miles using the least fuel possible.
Each team receives a bottle of fuel for six, two-lap runs, around a three-mile track. The weight of the fuel is logged by car number prior to each run, and again at the end of each run. To avoid disqualification, the average speed for each run must be between 15 and 25 MPH. The teams in each of six classes with the best 12-lap average mileage are declared 2018 SuperMileage winners.
For its first five years, the SuperMileage Challenge was managed on clipboards with paper and pencils. Technology was first introduced in 1993 when FileMaker 2.1 made it easier to capture critical fueling and timing data for the individual cars. Upgraded with the release of FileMaker 5, the tool has performed flawlessly for two decades.
In January 2018, MTEEA made their own commitment to technology, updating their software to take full advantage of the modern technologies, such as iPads, mobile phones, and web support to capture trackside data from officials during the competition.
Using FileMaker’s native JSON support, the SuperMileage Challenge app pushed live data from the event to an online leaderboard where anxious participants and families could see the near real-time status of their vehicle. The best single lap average on the 2018 leaderboard: 675.6 MPG — the distance from Dallas to the Mile High City.