Rochester Institute of Technologyís mini-Baja team will represent the United States as the only U.S. team competing in the sixth annual South African Mini Baja, Oct. 26Ė27 at Gerotek Test Facilities near Pretoria.
Hosted by the University of Pretoria, the event will include competitions in acceleration, braking, hill climbing, maneuverability, top speed and towing power. The contest will also feature an obstacle course and, like other mini-Baja contests, a grueling four-hour endurance race. Scoring will also be in non-performance categories such as cost, design, safety and amount of fun to drive. The dune-buggy-like, one-seat mini-Baja vehicles, powered by 10-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engines, reach top speeds of about 40 miles per hour.
More than a dozen schools built 25 cars for the contest. RIT, which annually enters four other national and international mini-Baja competitions, is competing in South Africa for the first time. Last April, RITís mini-Baja team was the only one from the U.S. to compete in the Mini Baja Brazil in Sao Paulo, where it captured first place in endurance, top-speed and cost.
Sponsors of the South African Mini Baja include the Society of Automotive Engineers, Briggs & Stratton Corp. and Daimler Chrysler Commercial Vehicle Division.