What is Baja?

Baja SAE is a real world design competition in which engineering students from across the globe design, build and perform in off-road vehicles throughout a series of challenges. Teams must be incorporated of a diverse group of individuals from multiple disciplines in order to achieve the many goals of fundraising, sponsorships, promotion and of course, the design and analysis of the vehicle itself.

This competition encourages students to collaborate on a large design project, giving experience in real world applications as well as functional teamwork and leadership skills. Throughout this competition students will learn industry design processes and standards while gaining the opportunity to network within their community and their industry.

Last year, the 2014 Baja SAE Competition took place in Peoria, IL, and featured the following events:

  • Rock Crawl
  • Hill Climb
  • Manoeuvrability
  • Endurance Race

To give an idea, here’s some images from the last two competitions:

In order to compete, all teams must pass the same basic tests:

  • Identical 10 HorsePower Briggs & Stratton engine
  • Maximum size requirements
  • Dynamic Braking


Teams compete to come up with a total out of 1000 overall points. These are broken down as such:

  • 75 Points for acceleration
  • 75 Points for land maneuverability
  • 75 Points for suspension and traction
  • 75 Points for hill climb
  • 100 Points for cost
  • 200 Points for design
  • 400 Points for endurance


The endurance race is a measure of which team can complete the most laps over the span of 4 hours. Last year, only 85 of 118 teams qualified to compete in the endurance race. Each team gets to walk the course beforehand, and any team that gets stuck in the same place on 3 separate occasions is disqualified.