ON (and off)
THE ROAD

A Year with the Baja SAE
Racing Team

What is
Baja SAE?

The Lehigh Baja SAE team is a student-run organization that each year takes on the challenge of designing, building and racing a single-seat off-road car. The team participates in events sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and competes against teams from universities around the world.

A Racing Revival

After interest in the club waned early this decade, a group of students revived Lehigh Baja and have built it into a fully functioning, nationally respected race team.

“We thought doing a project like this would supplement everything we were doing in the classroom just terrifically.”

Jonathan Whitcraft ’17

“We do it because we love to do it. We think it’s a cool project. We think it’s a great experience... Once you get a taste for it, you don’t want to stop.”

Why did you
Join Baja?

JONATHAN WHITCRAFT ’17

Major

Mechanical Engineering

Role

Front Suspension Team Leader

KENAN SMITH ’17

Major

Mechanical Engineering

Role

Rear Suspension Team Leader

ZACH WILSON ’17

Major

Mechanical Engineering

Role

Team Machinist

HARRY AMBLER ’17

Major

Mechanical Engineering

Role

Drivetrain Team Leader

SHARON SANGERMANO ’17

Major

Bioengineering

Role

Team Member

ETHAN FORSTER ’20

Major

Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts & Sciences

Role

Team Member

Points of Pride

Building an all-terrain Baja race car is a complex process of automotive engineering that demands team members adhere to strict standards as they build and machine the car's many different parts and components. Different team members and groups tackle each project, seeking innovative ways of gaining a performance advantage.

BUILT FORSPEED AND MORE

A Baja car must be designed, built and engineered not only to optimize speed, but also to endure a punishing series of all-terrain challenges while keeping the driver safe at all times.

1
FIREWALLThe firewall separates the driver from the engine compartment. It is required to be machined of metal at least .020 inches thick.
3
DRIVER HARNESSAnother important safety feature, the driver restraint system must include a fivepoint harness, 3-inch webbing and a quick-release lever.
4
KILL SWITCHThe kill switch must be easily accessible to the driver. It is intended to instantly cut power to the engine, but not the braking system.
5
ROLL CAGEAn essential component of the car, the roll cage protects drivers during off-road challenges. It must be designed and built to prevent any failure of its structural integrity.
2
ENGINEAll Baja cars are powered by 10-horsepower Briggs & Stratton OHV Intek engines.

The Payoff After The Process

One of the highlights of the Baja year is the day the team takes the car out for its first test drive—and gets a chance to see how the latest Lehigh-built racing machine performs.

“Knowing that we started with just a bunch of pieces of metal that looked like nothing, and all of a sudden we have a car that drives around--that's a really, really great experience.”

Harry Ambler ’17

The team
hits the road

Immediately after graduation, the Baja team begins a three-week journey that will see them compete at two Baja SAE North America Competitions — first in Kansas, then in Illinois.

 

KANSAS

The team excels in Kansas, finishing first in the dynamic event competition, second in the suspension course and fifth overall.

ILLINOIS

The Lehigh race team took on even tougher competition in the Illinois event, which drew competitors from around the world. With a Top 10 performance in the rock crawl and a Top 25 finish in the endurance race, the team finished 31st overall.

The rules of the
Road

Static

During "static" events, the car is not in motion. These events include a cost report, a sales presentation and a design competition unit.

Dynamic

Dynamic events allow the teams to test their cars in a series of daunting challenges, capped by a grueling four-hour endurance race.

The Results

BAJA SAE
KANSAS

107 teams competed

  • 5th Place Overall
  • 1st Place in Dynamic Events
  • 2nd Place on Suspension & Traction
  • 5th Place on Sled Pull

BAJA SAE
ILLINOIS

99 teams competed

  • 31st Place Overall
  • 7th place in the Rock Crawl Event
  • 13th in the Cost Report
  • 23rd place in the Endurance Race

ON (and off)
THE ROAD

A Year with the
Baja SAE Racing Team

What is
Baja SAE?

The Lehigh Baja SAE team is a student-run organization that each year takes on the challenge of designing, building and racing a single-seat off-road car. The team participates in events sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), and competes against teams from universities around the world.

A Racing Revival

After interest in the club waned early this decade, a group of students revived Lehigh Baja and have built it into a fully functioning, nationally respected race team.

“We thought doing a project like this would supplement everything we were doing in the classroom just terrifically.” - Jonathan Whitcraft ’17

“We do it because we love to do it. We think it’s a cool project. We think it’s a great experience... Once you get a taste for it, you don’t want to stop.”

Why did you
Join Baja?

JONATHAN WHITCRAFT ’17

Major

Mechanical Engineering

Role

Front Suspension Team Leader

KENAN SMITH ’17

Major

Mechanical Engineering

Role

Rear Suspension Team Leader

ZACH WILSON ’17

Major

Mechanical Engineering

Role

Team Machinist

HARRY AMBLER ’17

Major

Mechanical Engineering

Role

Drivetrain Team Leader

SHARON SANGERMANO ’17

Major

Bioengineering

Role

Team Member

ETHAN FORSTER ’20

Major

Integrated Degree in Engineering, Arts & Sciences

Role

Team Member

Points of Pride

Building an all-terrain Baja race car is a complex process of automotive engineering that demands team members adhere to strict standards as they build and machine the car's many different parts and components. Different team members and groups tackle each project, seeking innovative ways of gaining a performance advantage.

BUILT FORSPEED AND MORE

A Baja car must be designed, built and engineered not only to optimize speed, but also to endure a punishing series of all-terrain challenges while keeping the driver safe at all times.

1
FIREWALLThe firewall separates the driver from the engine compartment. It is required to be machined of metal at least .020 inches thick.
3
DRIVER HARNESSAnother important safety feature, the driver restraint system must include a fivepoint harness, 3-inch webbing and a quick-release lever.
4
KILL SWITCHThe kill switch must be easily accessible to the driver. It is intended to instantly cut power to the engine, but not the braking system.
5
ROLL CAGEAn essential component of the car, the roll cage protects drivers during off-road challenges. It must be designed and built to prevent any failure of its structural integrity.
2
ENGINEAll Baja cars are powered by 10-horsepower Briggs & Stratton OHV Intek engines.

1 DRIVER HARNESS Another important safety feature, the driver restraint system must include a fivepoint harness, 3-inch webbing and a quick-release lever.

2 ROLL CAGE An essential component of the car, the roll cage projects drivers during off-road challenges. It must be designed and built to prevent any failure of its structural integrity.

3 ENGINE All Baja cars are powered by 10-horsepower Briggs & Stratton OHV Intek engines.

4 FIREWALL The firewall separates the driver from the engine compartment. It is required to be machined of metal at least .020 inches thick.

5 KILL SWITCH The kill switch must be easily accessible to the driver. It is intended to instantly cut power to the engine, but not the braking system.

The Payoff After The Process

One of the highlights of the Baja year is the day the team takes the car out for its first test drive---and gets a chance to see how the latest Lehigh-built racing machine performs.

“Knowing that we started with just a bunch of pieces of metal that looked like nothing, and all of a sudden we have a car that drives around--that's a really, really great experience.”

Harry Ambler ’17

The team
hits the road

Immediately after graduation, the Baja team begins a three-week journey that will see them compete at two Baja SAE North America Competitions — first in Kansas, then in Illinois.

KANSAS

The team excels in Kansas, finishing first in the dynamic event competition, second in the suspension course and fifth overall.

ILLINOIS

The Lehigh race team took on even tougher competition in the Illinois event, which drew competitors from around the world. With a Top 10 performance in the rock crawl and a Top 25 finish in the endurance race, the team finished 31st overall.

The rules of the
Road

Static

During "static" events, the car is not in motion. These events include a cost report, a sales presentation and a design competition unit.

Dynamic

Dynamic events allow the teams to test their cars in a series of daunting challenges, capped by a grueling four-hour endurance race.

BAJA SAE KANSAS

107 teams competed

  • 5th Place Overall
  • 1st Place in Dynamic Events
  • 2nd Place on Suspension & Traction
  • 5th Place on Sled Pull

BAJA SAE ILLINOIS

99 teams competed

  • 31st Place Overall
  • 7th place in the Rock Crawl Event
  • 13th in the Cost Report
  • 23rd place in the Endurance Race