Cal State Fullerton’s Titan Baja racing team pits its off-road, dune-style buggy against 100 teams from across the country and the world at the Baja SAE California intercollegiate competition May 19-22 in Gorman.
Coming off last year’s competition — the first time CSUF has competed since 2008 — the team of mechanical engineering students, with the help of electrical engineering and business majors, redesigned the vehicle and made major upgrades.
“Last year, we scored 56th out of 120 teams, but I believe that this year we are going to move up in the rankings because of our modifications to the vehicle,” said team captain and graduating senior Doug Stevenson. “The vehicle is much more robust this year to ensure we will not have any major breakdowns during the race.”
This year’s team added a transmission with neutral and reverse — to help if the vehicle gets stuck — and “coilover shocks” to better control the vehicle’s suspension and ride height, said Stevenson, one of the drivers of the one-seat vehicle.
The competition puts vehicles to the test in rough terrain in such events as a four-hour endurance race, hill climbing and rock crawls, as well as a maneuverability course and an acceleration test. The team also will present the engineering and design process used to develop the project.
The project helps students understand engineering from a complete perspective — from theory, design, cost report analysis and production, said faculty adviser Joseph Piacenza, assistant professor of mechanical engineering.
Of the 30-member team, nearly half are graduating, including Stevenson, and skipping the University’s May 21-22 commencement ceremonies to compete. “Some people are sad about missing graduation, but for the most part, this competition is what is completing our education as student engineers,” Stevenson said.
Follow the team on social media here.