RIT Baja team takes third place at first competition

Rookie driver and come-from-behind rally in endurance event highlight win

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Andrea Warren

The RIT Baja racecar handled the tough terrain at the recent SAE Baja Race in Alabama. It was the team’s opening competition and the group placed third overall among 100 U.S. and international college race teams.

The RIT Baja racing team placed third overall among the 100 collegiate teams competing in the opening Baja SAE competitions. The event was held April 19–22 at Auburn University in Alabama.

“The team was actually running in first overall until skid plate issues forced the team to leave the track for brief repairs during the four-hour endurance event,” says Marty Gordon, professor of mechanical engineering technology and team advisor. The RIT team also placed in the top five for the design finals and was third in the frame suspension and traction events.

The top-five placement overall was significant in that this year’s team is smaller than previous years, Gordon says. Nine students traveled to Auburn for the competition, led by new team manager Charles Borton, a fourth-year mechanical engineering student, and rookie driver CJ Winegar, a third-year mechanical engineering technology major.

“Our team epitomizes what it is to be an RIT student—having the ability to hit the ground running,” Gordon adds.

The group leaves for its next competition May 2–5 in Portland, Ore. They will close the season June 7–10 in Wisconsin.