Auburn Family

Auburn Baja: Auburn's Own Off-Roading Competitive Vehicle Team

Are you into bending all of the elements of the earth for the purpose of invention? Or perhaps mudding? The Auburn Baja team can give you your fix of either.

Baja SAE is a design competition run by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). Teams of students from university both nationally and world wide design and build small off-road cars. All cars entered into the competition have engines of the same specifications.

The goal in Baja SAE racing is to design, build and race off-road vehicles that can withstand the harshest elements of rough terrain. Each year, around 200 cars are entered into the competition across the United States and around the world. All entered vehicles must pass SAE’s technical inspection and judging; a car may not race until all safety inspections are passed.

The competition includes several different events available for entrance, including hill climbs, chain pulls, maneuverability, rock crawls, suspension and traction events.

Michael Moorehead, a sophomore on Auburn’s Baja team, explains to me that they literally build the car form scratch- starting from the ground up, using their own materials. All parts of the car are student-made except for the engine, which is required to be identical for all participating vehicles.

“I enjoy contributing to the team, it’s rewarding seeing ideas that my teammates and I come up with put into action. You don’t have to be an engineering major to participate, but the majority of us are. I’m an aerospace engineering major and I definitely feel like being a part of the Baja team gives me a head start in my experience as well as a great addition to my resume.”

Like Moorehead said, anyone may participate, but not without the proper training. Twenty-seven safety quizzes are required to be passed to be allowed in the machine shop alone- everything from water safety to welding, but mostly just handling equipment and practicing safety hazards while in the machine shop where the car is built.

Moorehead’s final input on the matter is “Other school’s have to bring their A-game when it comes to competing with the Auburn Baja crew!”

Fun fact: Auburn Baja SAE has their own competitive flag football team!

Baja SAE competition slideshow:

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