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CWRU Baja Competes in Rochester

By Ryan Miller, Posted September 30, 2010

From June 11th through the 13th, the CWRU Baja Team competed in the 2010 Wet World Challenge, a national Baja SAE competition in Rochester, NY.  The 2010 team was led by captain Rodney Nelson advised by Jim Drake. The team, named Bingham’s Best Brand after the Bingham Student Workshop, where the team builds the car, has competed the past 9 years in the contest sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers.  Since its conception in 1976, Baja SAE has grown into a premiere intercollegiate design series, where a variety competition sponsors, such as Honda, Briggs and Stratton, and Polaris scout the future engineers of the world.

The 2010 team started initial vehicle design in the spring of 2009, where they developed a design theme focused on durability and serviceability.  Over the course of the academic year, the team continued to design, manufacture, and test the off-road vehicle.  The design featured a rear-mount engine paired with a Gaged Engineering CVT, a custom gearbox designed and manufactured by team members, and floatation, including pontoons, a “surf board,” and rear fenders, to float and propel the car in a body of water.  Creating an amphibious vehicle was a new challenge for the team, as this was CWRU’s first “water competition.”  However, the team met the challenge by designing and constructing one of the better performing vehicles in the water.

At the 2010 competition, Bingham's Best Brand placed 42nd out of 95 teams, the highest ranking in the team’s history.  The team competed in six dynamic events including a hill climb, land maneuverability, acceleration, water maneuverability, suspension and traction, and the signature four-hour endurance race.  The team also competed in static events, which included design and cost reports and a design presentation.