Baja SAE

Oregon Tech Baja SAE Gets Dirty in SoCal

Elizabeth Cox

Staff Writer

From April 27 through April 30, 91 university teams from around the globe competed against one another in the 2017 Baja SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) California tournament hosted in Gorman, California. Students came all the way from Egypt, Mexico, India, Canada, China, South Korea, and the United States. This year, Oregon Tech and Oregon State University represented the state at this year’s competition.

As part of Baja SAE, student-led teams design and build small off-road vehicles and compete in dynamic events that test the vehicle’s acceleration, hill climbing ability, maneuverability, and suspension. Other event categories include a sales presentation, cost, and design.

 “Our mission is to chase our passion of engineering and racing to build a car that is built with the highest level of craftsmanship,” said Alan Schmidt, senior mechanical engineering student.

This year, Schmidt took on the role of lead design engineer and co-captain of the Oregon Tech Baja SAE team. He also focused on creating the front suspension system of the vehicle. With the help of other motivated Oregon Tech students, the team completed their vehicle as well as some last minute testing by April 24. All components of the vehicle are designed and manufactured by the students, except for the engine, which is provided by SAE International and has the same specs for every teams.

The goal of this year’s vehicle was to reduce its weight, which is crucial to performing against some of the top teams, as well as to finish within the top 20 of every event. The team reached its goal to place in the top 20 in the maneuverability event, where they took 14th place, and came close in many events such as acceleration and hill climb, where they took 23rd and 28th respectively.

“Winning is always the goal but goals to get there include more weight saving better designs and more documentation and testing,” said Schmidt.

Overall, the Oregon Tech Baja SAE team placed 32nd, behind Iowa State by 1.35 points and above California State University-Fullerton by 1.41 points. Although the team did not place where they wanted this year, there is still hope for next season.

Oregon Tech Baja SAE is open to students in any major. For more information, contact or check out their booth the Fall 2017 Super Club Sign Up.

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