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NIU Mini Baja team attends design competition

June 28, 2012

NIU’s Mini Baja team, which designs and builds off-road vehicles for competition, recently participated in a Society of Automotive Engineers event at the MGA research facility in Burlington, Wis.

Competitions encourage intuitive design to win. Students must use a stock Briggs and Stratton 10-horsepower engine and follow the Mini Baja 71-page rule book.

“From start to finish, our design for this competition took roughly 10 months,” Mini Baja team captain Tom Swanberg said. “We started with the design in the summer and continued with building in the fall and early spring.”

During the competition held from June 7 to June 10, NIU battled against more than 100 other collegiate teams from around the world. NIU’s vehicle withstood every obstacle in the competition.

With a few minor changes to their design, Swanberg said, the team can prove even more successful in future competitions.

“It is a great feeling finally getting to the competition and seeing how our car performs,” he said. “My favorite part of being on this team is seeing the progress that the car makes from start to finish, and the progression of cars from season to season.”

The next competition will take place in February in Houghton, Mich. “Because the next competition will not be a sanctioned event, it will be an excellent time to test for new cars before we implement their final design,” Swanberg said.

Read more about the NIU Mini Baja team’s past competitions, visit the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology blog.