Cal Poly Pomona’s Baja SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) team roared to a strong showing at an international racing and design competition, coming in first among California teams and fourth nationally.
The event, Auburn Baja SAE, was held over four days in Auburn, Alabama, and attracted 100 teams from across the world. Competitors included engineering powerhouses such as Cornell, UCLA, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and Virginia Tech.
The performance of Cal Poly Pomona’s team was made more impressive by the fact that it didn’t compete last year, and nearly all of its members were competing for the first time. The team finished first in the endurance race, a four-hour competition that pushed the vehicle through a punishing dirt course muddied by rain on the day of the race.
Cal Poly Pomona’s team started in post No. 30 because of its slow acceleration time, but by the three-hour mark, Cal Poly Pomona held a comfortable lead.
“The last hour was the game-changer for the other teams. Flat tires, broken tie rods, burned clutches, and CVT [continuously variable transmission] failures put us so far ahead, we were nearly three laps in the lead by the end of the event,” said Clifford Stover, the College of Engineering’s project labs director.
Stover attributes the team’s success to constant trips to the high desert terrain and consistently putting the vehicle to the test.
The team will head off to compete in Oregon next month.