Photo of BAJA testing

Baja Capstone Design

Engineering seniors, operating in design teams, apply principles of the design process to create a product or process to meet the needs of a customer. Projects may originate in industry, as a contest sponsored by a professional society, or in other venues. The design team, with the guidance of a faculty advisor, must plan, direct, conduct, and effectively communicate the results of the design effort through a professional engineering report and oral presentation. The design project will include material within and beyond the curriculum as well as technical and non-technical considerations. Design projects often result in a deliverable prototype.

Baja SAE® Competition

One of the three engineering capstone design projects in 2014 was the design and fabrication of a Baja car. The Baja car is an off-road vehicle that is designed to survive the severe punishment of rough terrain. Each year the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International) sponsors three Baja SAE® competitions held at various locations throughout the United States. In 2014, after a 7 year hiatus, York College entered the Baja SAE® competition located in Peoria, Illinois which is held at the Caterpillar testing facility.

2014 Competition Results

At the competition, York College competed with colleges and universities from around the world in a series of static and dynamic events. The dynamic events at this year’s competition were acceleration, hill climb, rock crawl, land maneuverability and an endurance race. Of 86 participating teams to pass technical inspection the York College Baja team placed 62nd overall. The team placed 59th in acceleration, 31st in Rock Crawl, 61st in Hill Cllimb, and were one of the only 57 teams left on the track at the end of the endurance race.
The endurance course prepared by Caterpillar proved to be a brutal challenge for the car but led to an exciting finish for the York College team. On the final lap of the endurance race, the right front wheel was broken free from the car while traveling over a tree in the course. However, the driver was able to successfully complete the remainder of the lap with only three wheels that made for a very impressive finish. 

The three-wheeled finish was captured by one of our Go-Pro cameras. 


2013-2014 Baja Team

  • Scott Kiefer, Ph.D., Faculty Advisor
  • Ryan Shetterly
  • Frank Connor
  • Nate Rhen
  • Mitchell Larson
  • Billy Myers (in the car)
  • Steve Garlock
  • Jordan Steiner
  • Seth Biasco
  • John Meyer
  • Tristan Ericson, Ph.D., Faculty Advisor




Three-wheel finish!!

Car / team photo after the competition