University of South Alabama, Office of Public Relations

June 6, 2005
Contact: Emily Ayers, USA Office of Public Relations, (251) 460-6636
                Toccara Brown, USA Office of Public Relations, (251) 460-6637

2005 Mini-Baja Car Exposition

Unveiling the 2005 Mini-Baja" From left: Mini-Baja team members Ben O' Mary, Joel Skogen, Michael Hrbacek, Dr. Ali Engin, faculty advisor and professor of mechanical engineering, and Nathan Whatley show off the new baja car before the Midwest Mini-Baja competition

The USA mechanical engineering Mini-Baja car design team will take their all-terrain vehicle to an intercollegiate competition, which will be held June 16-19 in Troy, Ohio.

The four-member mechanical engineering team designed and built the ATV as part of their senior design project at USA. The purpose of the competition, sponsored by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and Briggs and Stratton, is to provide engineering students with a challenging project that involves the planning and manufacturing tasks found when introducing a new product to consumer industrial market.

The international Mini-Baja events consist of three regional competitions that simulate real-world engineering design projects and their challenges. Engineering students are asked to design and build off-road vehicles that will survive the severe punishment of rough terrain, in addition to meeting cost targets, designing for manufacturability, service and comfort.

USA is one of more than 140 colleges entering the international competition. The contestants will be judged for attributes such as fastest acceleration, best maneuverability, toughest suspension and endurance.

All of the team members graduated this spring. Two USA engineering graduates who are also former Baja car team captains now work for leading racecar manufacturers, Hendrick Motorsports and Penske Racing.

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