AUBURN – College students from schools around the globe will compete next month in the 2009 Baja SAE Alabama competition at Auburn University. Hosted by the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, the event will take place April 16-19 at Auburn’s National Center for Asphalt Technology test site in Opelika.
This engineering student design competition, sanctioned since 1976 by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), will feature 100 collegiate teams and approximately 1,000 students from the United States, Canada, Mexico, India and Venezuela. Auburn last hosted the event in 2006.
“This year’s competition will have some really exciting twists and turns,” said event organizer Peter Jones. “We’ve enhanced the course since the 2006 Baja competition, giving it higher jumps, longer rock crawls and a rougher sandpit. Combined with the static and dynamic events, this competition should be a real test of what these teams and their cars are made of.”
Formerly known as Mini Baja, Baja SAE is an annual student competition to design, build and race a prototype of an off-road, all-terrain vehicle. Each year it consists of three North American events, which last year hosted teams from more than 273 colleges.
The four-day competition will take place on a specially-built course adjacent to the National Center for Asphalt Technology facility. It will include a four-hour wheel-to-wheel endurance race and short events in acceleration, traction, maneuverability, suspension, design report, design evaluation and manufacturing cost.
“In Baja, students learn not only about teamwork, project management, scheduling and budget and supplier relationships, but also details of machine design and fabrication technology,” said Jones. “Then, they design the vehicle, build it, run it, evaluate it, fix it and do it again. When the deadline comes, it has to be ready to compete.”
Baja SAE is an educational activity that teaches students real-world skills that help them hit the ground running as young employees. Each year, SAE student programs produce hundreds of young engineers with design, fabrication and testing experience.
For information about the event, go to the competition home page at www.bajasaealabama.com. The ‘Welcome’ tab at the top of the page will take you to a schedule of events.