The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers)
student design competition held its first event in Columbia, SC in 1976.
The competition was originated by the University of South Carolina,
under the supervision of Dr. John F. Stephens. The first competition included
eight teams from across the US. Today, nearly 30 years later, there are three
competitions in the US and several international competitions involving over
200 Universities world-wide. The three US competitions include the East,
Midwest, and West. The East is by far the most challenging competition
as the vehicles must have the ability to traverse deep water (i.e.,
float). The Midwest competition is more of a motocross style track and
typically has the greatest number of entries. Over 140 teams registered
for this event in 2005. The final competition held in the US is the
West competition which involves more mountainous terrain, hill
climbing, and rock crawling abilities.
May 2005 was the first time USC has entered a
competition in four years. USC has played a significant role in baja
history, as in 1994, USC was the first team to have a successful 4
wheel drive car. The car placed 4th overall. Last year they placed 38th
out of 72, which wasn't too terrible considering their inexperience as a team. The
team has a better idea of what they need to do to score more points and are planning
adjustments as necessary.
Click here for in-depth
background information on the History of the Mini Baja Competition.