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The University Magazine

Baja blast

Cars were flipped, metal was twisted and endurance was tested. And when it was all over, Centro Universitario Da FEI, a Brazilian university, won the 2007 Baja SAE Rochester World Challenge hosted by RIT June 7-10.

Baja car
Spectators line the course at Hogback Hill Motocross Track in Palmyra, N.Y., site of the dynamic events. (Photo by A. Sue Weisler '93)
Baja car
The entry of the University of Texas-Pan American catches some air. (Photo by A. Sue Weisler '93)
Baja car climb
One by one, vehicles were put to the test in hill climb, acceleration, maneuverability, traction and suspension, and endurance events.
Baja car climb
Another team prepares for their turn at the design portion of the competition.
Brazil team
Members of the Centro Universitario Da FEI team from Brazil await their turn in the design events. After all of the events were done, the team went home with first-place honors.
Brazil team
In the first two days, vehicles were evaluated for design and engineering components. Here, judges check out the entry of Universite Du Quebec a Trois Rivieres.

The Brazilians emerged as the top team from a field of 141 based on an SAE International formula that weighs each team’s performance in the engineering and design portion of the competition with their results in the competition’s dynamic events – hill climb, acceleration, maneuverability, traction and suspension and endurance. Sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers, Baja SAE challenges students to build off-road vehicles for competition in design and endurance categories. Events take place all over the world.

It was the second time RIT hosted the competition, but this year’s field was twice the size of the 2005 event. Schools from the United States, Canada, Mexico, India, South Korea, South Africa and from countries all over South America participated.

“The entire event was an enormous success,” says RIT’s Marty Gordon, a mechanical engineering technology professor and the organizer of the competition. “A dedicated team of volunteers, which included faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the RIT Baja team, spent countless hours making it all happen. ”

RIT, which entered two cars in the competition, finished in 21st and 44th places.

Web extra:
For more information about the competition, visit
For more photos, visit the University News Baja SAE photo gallery.

John Follaco

Welding car
Back in the shop, a member of the RIT Baja team works on parts for one of the two vehicles the team built.
Mexico car
Members of the team from Instituto Technologico de Queretero, Mexico, roll their vehicle into the Gordon Field House for the design tests.
A group of Venezuelan fans cheers for their team.
RIT canopy
RIT canopy
Red flag
A driver gets the signal on the course.