With their “Titan-made and Titan strong” off-road vehicle, the Cal State Fullerton Baja racing team hits the dirt today to compete in the Baja SAE international collegiate competition in Portland, Oregon.
With 97 registered teams — from universities such as Cornell, Johns Hopkins and Virginia Tech, and countries such as Canada, India, Mexico and Venezuela — the CSUF team’s goal is to finish in the top 15, said Salvador Mayoral, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and the team’s faculty adviser.
This the fourth year a CSUF student team will compete in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) collegiate racing event. Last year, the team finished 32nd overall. Baja SAE is an engineering design competition, where college students are challenged to design, build and compete in a single-seat, all-terrain vehicle.
Students involved in the project get hands-on experience in vehicle design and manufacturing, Mayoral said. The Titan team of mostly mechanical engineering majors made some major changes to this year’s vehicle, called “Tuffy,” named for the university’s mascot.
The vehicle’s weight has been reduced and is about 30 pounds lighter than last year’s off-road racer, largely due, in part, to the new gearbox design, Mayoral said. The mounting position of the engine also was lowered by three inches, which lowers the vehicle’s center of gravity and, ultimately, improves maneuverability. Improvements to the suspension also were made to boost the vehicle’s ride quality for the rough terrain, Mayoral added.
For the competition, students vie in engineering design, cost and business presentation events. The vehicles are tested in multiple dynamic events, including acceleration, maneuverability, hill climb, and the signature event called the rock crawl. The event peaks with a four-hour endurance event that tests all aspects of the vehicle’s design and engineering.
The competition continues through June 2 at the Washougal Motocross Track and University of Portland.