Ivy Leaf - Fall 2007

Mini Baja


Engines were revving, tires were spinning, and dust was flying at the annual Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Mini Baja Midwest competition. Car 24, designed by Penn State Altoona engineering majors, was in the middle of the action, finishing forty-second overall out of 141 cars from universities in the United States, Canada, Brazil, Korea, South Africa, and Venezuela. The team's car vaulted twenty places over last year's team performance.

The Midwest Mini Baja is one of three regional competitions that simulate real-world engineering design projects and challenges. Engineering students design and build an off-road vehicle that will meet stringent cost, safety, and performance goals. Teams compete against one another to have their design accepted for manufacture by a fictitious firm.

This year's competition was held in early June in upstate New York. Car 24, a single-seat dune buggy-like vehicle, survived the last day's four-hour endurance race, completing nearly ninety miles in forty-nine laps on the demanding motorcross-style track and finishing twenty-seventh. The team also performed especially well in acceleration and suspension/traction events on June 10.

Team members attending included Ryan Ferguson, Brad Maher, and Jarred Smith, all from the Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology program at the college. Advisors included Andrew Vavreck, John Sjolander, and Eric Granlund.