NMU Team Third in Mini-Baja Event

Twelve students from the NMU chapter of the Society of Automotive Engineers comprised a team that took third place out of seven teams in a mini-Baja vehicle competition at Michigan Tech. It was the first time Northern participated in the event.

SAE chapters from schools nationwide had a five-month time limit in which to design and build their own mini-Baja vehicles from scratch. On the day of the competition, they raced against each other for three hours on a rough-terrain loop track; the vehicle with the most completed laps was declared the winner. NMU students and volunteers invested 2,500 hours in the process. Although NMU’s entry wasn’t the fastest that day, Jeffrey Hoffman (Engineering Technology) said it was well engineered and didn’t face the breakdowns that plagued many of the other vehicles. It also finished ahead of U.P. rival Michigan Tech.

“The team pulled off an amazing feat considering our budget and time constraints,” Hoffman said. “Our competitors had $20,000 to work with while building their vehicles, whereas we only spent a total of $1,500. We also had only 20 weeks in which to design and fabricate it, which is difficult when these are full-time students with jobs.”

The next race is scheduled for June in Dayton, Ohio, with 140 vehicles from universities around the world competing.

“Our third-place finish was very encouraging, but the Dayton race will require a lot more preparation,” said Adam Menor, SAE president. “We’ll be judged on manueverability, acceleration and overall design, so we’ll have to redesign our vehicle to be more competitive against the 140 universities from around the world that we’ll be going up against.”



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Updated: October 26, 2005

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