They’ve already survived a race through the Oregon mud. And so the members of Iowa State University’s Baja SAE Team think they have an off-road racer that can compete when the series moves to Wisconsin.
This year’s student-designed and student-built racer, in fact, made it to the finish of the competition’s big event, a four-hour endurance race worth 40 percent of a team’s score. That’s the first time in three years the team made it through four hours of racing. That helped the team finish 17th among 57 teams at the May 2-5 event in the Portland area.
It wasn’t trouble-free racing, though.
Will Frank, a junior from Des Moines who’s studying mechanical engineering and is the Baja team’s project director, said the car’s continuously variable transmission was stuck in high gearing for the last 30 minutes of the race. That made the hill climbs difficult for the 10 horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine, but the team nursed the car to the end.
Frank said the Oregon competition also taught the team it needs to do a better job making its design and cost reports to judges.
That’s one of the advantages of working hard to finish the car and make it to two Baja racing events sponsored by SAE International, formerly known as the Society of Automotive Engineers.
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