When you think of racing, you probably think speed. But the University of Cincinnati's Bearcats Baja Racing Team is as much about speed as it is about survival – survival of a four-hour endurance challenge.
This grueling opportunity is made possible by the Baja Society of Automotive Engineers, an engineering design competition that simulates a rough-and-tumble experience for utility task vehicles.
“Baja is more than just engineering,” says UC Baja team manager Nic Thome (mechanical engineering technology ’19). “You take it from a design all the way through to manufacturing and a finalized product.”
The product is an off-road vehicle that can survive extreme conditions and stress tests of various competitions. Competitions include a rock crawl, hill climb, obstacle course race, a drop test and various safety tests. The vehicle encounters a series of different terrains that it must overcome without any mishaps or breaks.
More than 100 teams from around the world participate each year in these competitions, the biggest of which is in Rochester, N.Y. The Bearcats Baja Racing Team team typically modifies and improves its vehicle every year in preparation for these competitions.
This year, however, the team is doing something different. It is building a new vehicle from scratch.