This article also appears in
Subscribe now »

Cornell University (#93) races against Marquette University (#17) at Baja SAE Illinois. Click on the small arrow outside the upper right corner of this photo to see additional ones from the Illinois and UTEP regional events.

Cornell wins Iron Team award as Baja SAE series concludes (video)

Each year, SAE International sponsors the Collegiate Design Series (CDS), a series of competitions around the country where teams of student engineers are given a chance to show their skills and gain practical engineering experience. Among the CDS events is the Baja SAE series. University teams design, build, and test off-road vehicles that will withstand rough terrain. As with other CDS events, teams compete to have their design accepted for manufacture by a fictional company.

Teams must build an off-road vehicle with a Briggs & Stratton 10-hp (7.5-kW) Intek Model 20 engine that is capable of carrying one person 190 cm (75 in) tall weighing 113 kg (249 lb). At the competition, the vehicle is tested on a variety of terrain, including rocks, sand jumps, logs, steep inclines, mud, or shallow water. The vehicle must also be able to handle all types of weather. The competition involves a series of both static and dynamic events, and teams are awarded a score for each event for a total of 1000 possible points over all the events.

The 2014 Baja season had three regional competitions, the first (Baja SAE UTEP) having been held in April with the University of Texas at El Paso serving as host. After the cost, design, and presentation events, teams participated in the dynamic events at UTEP, which included hill climb, acceleration, suspension and traction, maneuverability, and endurance. Oregon State University, Rochester Institute of Technology, and Cornell University claimed the overall top three spots, in that order.

The Baja series continued in mid-May with Baja SAE Kansas. Held at Pittsburg State University, dynamic events included acceleration, maneuverability, sled pull, suspension and traction, and endurance. Centro Universitario da FEI, from Brazil, took overall first place while the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and Iowa State University rounded out the top three.

The Baja series concluded at the beginning of June at Baja SAE Illinois. The competition in Peoria included acceleration, hill climb, maneuverability, rock crawl, and endurance as the dynamic events.

Cornell University took first place honors in the overall competition followed by Oregon State University and McGill University. Cornell’s team, Big Red Racing, also earned its first Iron Team Award, given to the team with the highest aggregate score across all three competitions in the North American series. Cornell finished the season with a total score of 930.03. The Iron Team competition was close, with Rochester Institute of Technology and University of Michigan-Ann Arbor both within nine points. Following a surge by Cornell in the endurance race, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor finished as Iron Team runner-up.

Among other accolades, Cornell received the First Honda Overall Dynamic Award for excellence in the acceleration, hill climb, maneuverability, and rock crawl events. The team also had the best time on the hill-climb, winning a first place award as well as placing first in the endurance race, a first in the team’s history.

Full results of each regional competition can be viewed at

Click to watch video highlights of the Baja SAE Kansas 2014.

Additional photos can be found by clicking the small arrow outside the top right corner of the photo shown.


Continue reading »