A Baja racer is a rugged, off-road vehicle valued for its durability, traction, maneuverability and endurance. Each year, SAE International sponsors a competition for Baja racers designed and built by teams of college and university students representing institutions from throughout the Western hemisphere.
A dedicated team of Conestoga mechanical engineering, welding and machining students has been involved in the SAE competition. At the recently concluded competition, Conestoga’s vehicle placed 35th among the 122 entrants.
Only two Ontario schools - the University of Windsor (eighth) and Queen’s University (13th) finished higher than Conestoga. In turn, Conestoga’s team outpaced a number of other Ontario schools, including McMaster (47th), Waterloo (54th and 62nd) and Western Ontario (86th). Conestoga’s effort also yielded a better result than outstanding universities such as Worcester Polytechnic Institute (38th), Georgia Tech (40th), Cornell (49th), Johns Hopkins (66th) and McGill (73rd).
In the previous year’s event, Conestoga had placed 47th.
The purpose of the competition is to simulate real-world engineering experiences, along with related work challenges. Each participating team must work as a group to design, build and race a single-seat off-road vehicle.
Baja SAE consists of regional competitions that reflect engineering design projects and their related challenges. Each vehicle is powered by a 10hp engine.
The Conestoga team races under the name COBRA, for Conestoga Off-road Baja Racing Association. The team members are students Jason Jurchuk (leader), Jacob Botden, Dejan Dolso, Daniel Hoffmann, Sebastien Lavigne, Vernon Loy and Jacob Royston. Serving as advisors are faculty members Roger Enns and Mike Verwey.
The top three finishers in the 2008 competition were Centro Universitario FEI (Brazil), the State University of New York at Stony Brook and the University of Florida.
SAE International, founded in 1916 as the Society of Automotive Engineers, has more than 90,000 members from more than 90 nations. Based in the Pittsburgh area, it is a non-profit and scientific organization dedicated to the advancement of mobility technology to better serve humanity. It is concerned with product and process standards, as well as educational programs.
CONTACT: Roger Enns, 519-748-5220, ext. 3263.
More information on the Conestoga team and vehicle is at www.conestogac.on.ca/~minibaja