Baja Racing wins Iron Team Award
The Cornell Baja Racing Team seized the Iron Team Award for the first time at the 2014 Baja SAE International Competition hosted by Caterpillar Inc. in Peoria, Illinois. The Iron Team Award is given to the team that has the highest aggregate score across all three competitions in the North American Series.
One hundred international collegiate teams design and build an off-road vehicle suitable for use in a variety of conditions for the competition, which began in 1976 as the Mini Baja competition. The goal is to design a functional, durable, versatile and economical vehicle that could be mass-produced.
The team beat out stiff competition from third place McGill University and second place Oregon State University to take first overall in Illinois. Cornell also won the First Honda Overall Dynamics Award for excellence in the acceleration, hill climb, maneuverability and rock crawl events. Of these individual events, Cornell won a first place award for having the best time on the hill climb. Finally, the team also won first in the four-hour endurance race, finishing a full two laps ahead of the next car. Winning the endurance race was another first in the team’s ten year history.
Earlier this year, the team attended two other competitions in El Paso, Texas and Pittsburg, Kansas. In these competitions Cornell won third and fourth place overall respectively. Going into the Illinois competition, the Iron Team field of competitors was very close with Rochester Institute of Technology and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor, all within nine points of Cornell. There are 1,000 points up for grabs in each competition. It wasn’t until the endurance race on the last day that Cornell surged ahead to claim the prize. Taking the first place position after the first lap, Cornell maintained its lead for the remainder of the 47 lap race to win.
The Cornell University team of 38—consisting mostly of mechanical engineering students—has been researching, designing, and building this latest vehicle iteration since the summer of 2013. In order to make competing in a three competition series a reality, the team raised over $21,000 last fall through a month long crowdfunding campaign.
In announcing its win, the team recognized the monetary and in-kind support from family, friends, Cornell alumni, and corporate sponsors that helped make it possible.
The full list of Cornell Baja’s awards and accomplishments for past years can be seen under the History section of the team’s site, www.cornellbaja.com.