College of Engineering News • Iowa State University

Iowa State Baja SAE Team lends help to competition, still finds success

Iowa State Baja SAE Team

Update: 6-14-13

The Baja Team placed 10th at the SAE International Baja Rochester Collegiate Design Series, making its best finish in the last 20 years. The team raced against 87 universities from all over the world in the endurance portion of the competition after passing the safety inspection and all dynamic evens on the first day. The top 10 finish means Iowa State’s car has already been assigned a number for next year’s competition, which is decided by its finishing place.

The Iowa State University Baja SAE Team made a solid showing in the Collegiate Design Series competition at Western Washington State May 16-19.

Baja SAE Team
Back row from left to right: Scott Brehm, Erik Rasmussen, Jason Schluttner, Alex Schlormann, Jake Stafford, Blake Wulf, Dr. Greg Luecke, Zach Vorbeck and Sidney Good. Front row: Levi Benning and Ali Daly.

Completing a series of dynamic events including maneuverability, the hill climb, acceleration and the rock crawl, the team only had one major hang-up, which came in the endurance race.

A dislocated half-shaft cost the Iowa State team a few laps, but it still managed to place 37 out of 77 teams from across the world.

Focusing on avoiding system failures like it came across last year, the team’s goal for the competition was reliability, and the group certainly succeeded.

“Iowa State became the go-to team,” said Greg Luecke, associate professor of mechanical engineering. The students first helped the University of Iowa team by lending a spare set of safety belts.

The University of Iowa team eventually received its own belts a day later, but since it needed the belts to pass the technical inspection, the team could not switch and was forced to drive its car with Iowa State’s bright red belts. Luecke said the students from the University of Iowa were good sports about it, though, even agreeing to take a photo of their driver wearing an Iowa State t-shirt with the car.

The University of Las Vegas-Nevada also requested the help of Iowa State when its team had trouble locking the brakes on all four wheels, a requirement to pass the technical inspection before the car can be raced.

“Someone pointed the students to the ISU trailer, and our team swarmed around for half an hour, sanding this, adjusting that and dispensing operational strategies,” said Luecke. Thanks to Iowa State, the University of Las Vegas-Nevada team passed the brake test and completed the day’s requirements.

The Baja SAE Team will have another opportunity to race June 6-9 in Rochester, New York, for the Midwest Baja Competition.

Check out a video of the team’s performance in the rock crawl event.