Mini Baja Racing
In 2016 the Baja team competed in Auburn, Alabama from April 9th – 12th, Baltimore, Maryland from May 7th – 10th, and finally in Portland, Oregon from May 27th – 30th. At these competitions, organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the baja will be required to navigate anything from muddy waters to huge boulders and steep hills.
The competition challenges students to design and fabricate an off road vehicle that can climb a 30° incline and maneuver through a tight course while being cost effective enough to be potentially sold to off road enthusiasts. The events take place over three days, broken down as follows:
Day One – Static Events
On the first day of the competition, the team presents the final product through a sales presentation and demonstrates to the judges that their design approach is the most effective. Then the cars are put through a series of rigorous safety tests.
Day Two – Dynamic Events
The short events usually consist of rock crawling, hill climbing, acceleration, land maneuverability, and the crowd favourite, suspension and traction. This is a very thorough test of the vehicle’s dynamic capabilities.
Day Three – Endurance Race
The Endurance Race is a four hour free-for-all race with a mass start of around 100 Baja SAE racers. This race is a huge spectator event with cars trying to put as many laps as possible in the allotted time. The endurance race track includes sections of the suspension and traction course, a mud hole, several wooded sections and numerous jumps. The course is usually about 5 or 6 kilometers long. Usually, less than 50% of the bajas make it till the end.
McGill Baja has a proud history full of hard work, friendship, ingenuity and sweat. From sleepless nights to Jacquelin’s Sugar Shack Challenge, we have experienced it all over the years. Starting 1984 a group of engineers, who will remain nameless due to lack of records, joined together to form the McGill Baja Racing Team.
Luckily, we have been able to dig up a few photos of our retired bajas, some of which are from a time prior to the years of coloured photography.
The First Ever McGill Baja, 1984
This baja was getting ready to compete in McGill’s first ever competition, the 1984 Mini Baja East competition, set in Morgantown, West Virginia. We wished we knew how well we did in our first attempt, but at least we can safely say that those attending members fought valiantly and served McGill proudly.
In 1989 we return to Morgantown, West Virgina, but this time we not only race on land but also in water. We are not sure if this is McGill’s first amphibious baja, but we can once again see the awesome power of our bajas’ to tackle any challenge that may present itself.
McGill Baja splashes into the water, and floats! In 1993 McGill heads on down to Orlando, Florida for the Mini Baja East competition, this time we bring a camera that can take coloured photos. Once again we have an amphibious baja and some more wet shoes.
Our first 1st place win, 2013
In the year 2013, the McGill Baja Team attended two competitions located in Washington and Rochester, New York. This year's car, lovingly named Taylor after hours in the shop serenading her songs, unfortunately had a few problems at her first competition, including stopping early in the last day's endurance race. However, at the Rochester competition, Taylor blew the competition away, scoring an incredible 1st place in both acceleration and hill climb on dynamics day. More notably, the team's design presenters broke another ceiling in reaching Design Finals among few other teams, setting the standard for years to come. By achieving excellence across the board, Taylor and the team won 1st place (and a super big trophy which is normally on display in the McConnell lobby).