The Clarkson Baja SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) SPEED (Student Projects for Engineering Experience & Design) team recently completed its 40th year in existence with its best showing since 2006. The team placed 11th overall at the Maryland Baja SAE race in April and 6th overall at the Kansas Baja SAE race in May. The races are capped at 100 university teams and encompass teams from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and India.
Baja SAE consists of three US regional competitions that simulate real-world engineering design projects and their related challenges. Students are tasked to design and build an off-road vehicle that will survive the severe punishment of rough terrain, water, and mud. The object of the competition is to provide students with a challenging project that involves the planning and manufacturing tasks found when introducing a new product to the consumer industrial market. 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 to generate financial support for their project and manage their educational priorities.
This year the Clarkson Baja team entered the Baja Maryland race with its first-ever custom designed and manufactured CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission). The CVT was designed to enhance acceleration and top end speed which was proven at both races as Clarkson registered the fastest lap in the grueling four-hour Endurance race at both the Maryland and Kansas races. At the Maryland race, the team placed 6th in Acceleration, 6th in Hill Climb, 7th in Steering / Maneuverability, and 5th in Suspension earning them the 3rd place Honda Overall Dynamic Award and a $500 check. The team was 17th in Endurance and missed a top ten overall finish at this event by 0.19 points finishing 11th overall.
At the Kansas race, the team enhanced their scores in the Design and Sales Presentation events in addition to a strong finish in all of the dynamic events and broke the top ten for the first time since 2006 and finished 6th overall. The team placed 8th in Acceleration, 6th in Steering / Maneuverability, 5th in Endurance and 3rd in Suspension earning them the Volvo Trucks Group Suspension Award and a $250 check. The team is made up of 30 students with 20 students attending each race.