Rochester Institute of Technology engineering-technology students are ready to hit the road—make that the dirt track and water—for annual national mini-Baja competition.
First up, the Mini Baja East, hosted by the University of Central Florida in Orlando, is this weekend, April 4-6. In preparation for the contest’s deep-water maneuverability challenge, RIT’s team added to this year’s design flotation devices, fiberglass rear fenders and wider tires to channel water. Other refinements include a new frame and enhanced braking and suspension systems— small improvements on good design, says Lee Gagne, third-year mechanical engineering major and transmission team leader.
Mini-Baja competitions include contests in endurance, acceleration, braking, maneuverability, top speed and traction. New this year, unique to the Mini Baja East, is a mud bogs challenge.
RIT will enter two mini-Baja cars—one painted in traditional RIT orange and brown and another painted in patriotic red, white and blue—in each spring contest. Following the Mini Baja East are the Mini Baja West, May 8-10, in Provo, Utah, and the Midwest Mini Baja, June 5-8, in Troy, Ohio. Mini-Baja competitions are sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers and Briggs & Stratton Corp.