Baja Bulldogs - driven!

Apr 9, 2010

Kettering's Baja Bulldog Racing team hit a few bumps on the road to the SAE International competition in South Carolina, but with enough caffeine, sugar and ingenuity anything is possible.

Sleep deprived, wearing yesterday’s clothes and running on sugar and caffeine – just a typical week before a major competition for Kettering University’s Baja Bulldog Racing team. Working feverishly in the garage April 7, Baja team members were hoping to hit the road for Greenville, S.C., by 10 p.m. – only 18 hours past their originally-intended departure time.

But that’s par for the course for any team participating in an SAE International Collegiate Design Series competition, designed to provide SAE student members with a challenging project that involves the planning and manufacturing tasks found when introducing a new product to the consumer industrial market.

Baja SAE consists of three regional competitions that simulate real-world engineering design projects and their related challenges. TheGreenvillecompetition is the first of the 2010 season. Engineering students are tasked to design and build an off-road vehicle that will survive the severe punishment of rough terrain and sometimes even water.

Repairing and re-tooling parts that failed during field testing, the Baja Bulldogs were confident they could reassemble their vehicle in time. “We’ve put it together three times already,” said Matt Banks, team co-captain. “The field tests were invaluable in identifying design problems. Fortunately we’ve been working steadily for months and had time to run it before the competition.”

Kettering’s Baja Bulldog Racing is one of 100 teams from four countries and across theU.S.competing April 8-11 inGreenville. Teams compete against one another to have their design accepted for manufacture by a fictitious firm. Students must function as a team to not only design, build, test, promote, and race a vehicle within the limits of the rules, but also to generate financial support for their project and manage their educational priorities.

All vehicles are powered by a 10-horsepower Intek Model 20 engine donated by Briggs & Stratton Corporation. Use of the same engine by all the teams creates a more challenging engineering design test.

The competition began with the Engine Check event April 8 from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday, April 9, is Static Events Day including Design Review, Weights and Dimensions, Braking Test, Technical Inspection Open and Design Finals.


Saturday, April 10, is Dynamic Events Day featuring Acceleration, Land Maneuverability, Suspension, and Pull Events, Engine Check/Tech Inspection/Brake Test and a chance to walk through the Endurance Course before hitting “off-road” on Sunday, April 11, also known as “Endurance Day.”

The Endurance Run lasts from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with Final Scoring complete by 2:30 p.m.

For more information about SAE International’s Baja Collegiate Design Series visit

For more information about KetteringUniversity’s Baja Bulldog Racing visit or on their facebook group “Kettering University SAE Mini Baja.”

Written with information from the SAE International Collegiate Design Series web site

Contact: Dawn Hibbard