A team of students from Missouri University of Science and Technology is heading to a dirt track in rural Tennessee to race its dune buggy head-to-head against 100 other Baja vehicles from collegiate teams across the country. The race is part of a competition that challenges college students to design and build an off-road vehicle capable of traversing rough terrain and water.
The S&T Baja Team will compete at the Baja SAE regional competition at Tennessee Technological University from April 18 through April 21. The race is held at the Tennessee Tech School of Agriculture’s 300-acre Shipley Farm and the Hyder-Burks Agricultural Pavillion in Cookeville, Tenn.
Teams are judged on cost, design, technical specifications, performance and endurance. The students do not know the technical questions the judges will be asking, so they must be fully prepared to explain every aspect of their vehicle.
The team will then put its car through the paces in a series of dynamic events designed to test the car’s maneuverability. The competition concludes with a four-hour endurance race. The course will be riddled with obstacles and debris that the teams will have to negotiate, such as mud, sand, downed trees and ramps to jump. Teams will be assessed penalties for infractions like poor or dangerous driving or running out of gas while on the track.
“The experiences on the team are truly invaluable,” says former team manager Wesley Englund, a senior in mechanical engineering from El Dorado Springs, Mo. “People say it all the time, but it is not really about winning. The program is just so rewarding for students and it is a great experience.”
Randall Lewis, an instructional lab coordinator in mechanical and aerospace engineering at S&T, is the Baja Team advisor.
For more information on the competition visit SAE International online at http://students.sae.org/competitions/bajasae/east/.
The following students are part of the 2013 Baja Team: