Check out this year’s Baja Car!

A small off-road vehicle powered by a 10 horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine was designed as a capstone project at Youngstown State University and constructed to meet the rules of Society of Automotive Engineers’ Baja SAE series. The car was entered into an international competition, and the results were an improvement on those observed in recent years. In a field of 100 registered competitors, the car placed 32nd place overall. This compares with a 80th place finish in 2013 and an 84th place finish in 2014.

At competition, the car successfully completed a four-hour endurance race with only minor, repairable mechanical issues. It also finished 12th out of 100 competitors in a suspension and traction course which most other cars were not able to complete. The car’s overall score bested that of many regional competitors including Ohio State and University of Akron as well as that of nationally well-known universities Notre Dame and Virginia Tech.

Seniors Sam Herb, Adam Graff, Matt Harrold, Rick Heusey, Chris Bowin, and Mike Krizner designed the car as a capstone project. An additional senior and about 10 underclassmen were also involved in the construction of the vehicle.

The car was built on the YSU campus between September 2014 and March 2015. It was tested in March and April and was entered into the competition in Auburn, AL between April 9th and April 12th 2015.

The SAE Baja series requires university sponsored teams to design a car within a given set of rules and parameters. The goal is to build the fastest, lightest, and best performing car with what amount of money can be raised.​ To even the playing field, a specific engine is required. Participants are granted nearly full freedom to push design limits and innovation while also showing immediate manufacturability pros and cons. Each year, Baja teams compete against 100 other colleges from around the world in one of three events in the U.S.