Learn about the single seat, all terrain vehicle that the Union College Baja Racing team has recently designed, manufactured, and tested for an upcoming competition hosted by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The objective of Baja SAE competitions is to provide a real-world project that simulates the design, planning, and manufacturing tasks of introducing a new product to the consumer market. Collegiate teams from around the world compete against one another to have their design accepted for manufacture by a fictitious firm. Students must function as a team to not only design, build, test, promote, and race a vehicle within the limits of the rules, but also generate financial support for their project and manage their educational priorities.
Each Baja SAE competition tests the design of the vehicle by exposing it to off-road terrains and various obstacles. To create a more challenging design test, each team uses the same, unmodified 10 horsepower Kohler. Typical events at competition include a hill climb, maneuverability course, suspension course, and four hour endurance race. These courses contain obstacles such as boulders, large jumps, and fallen telephone poles that the car must overcome. The competition also tests each team’s knowledge of the engineering behind the vehicle through a design presentation, as well as the economics associated with both the prototype vehicle and the fictitious mass-produced model.
This year, the Union College Baja vehicle will be competing in the SAE Baja East Competition held in Oshkosh, WI on May 4-7. For this year's design, Union Baja Racing redesigned the drivetrain system to make it more robust and easier to manufacture and maintain. A secondary goal of the drivetrain overhaul was to reduce the financial and machine time cost associated with it.