College of Engineering

The University of Texas at El Paso

Baja SAE

About Baja SAE

Mini Baja is a collegiate engineering competition in which students design, build and test an off-road vehicle for competition. The objective of the Mini Baja student team is not only to design and construct a safe off road vehicle that can maneuver a variety of obstacles, but also to consider cost, appearance, reliability, and performance.


Before the competition, each team must submit a design report and a cost report to SAE officials. The design reports are judged based on the following:

  • Engineering design is judged for the suspension and brake system, power train, structural design, craftsmanship, operator comfort, feasibility for mass production, and serviceability.
  • Cost Report is judged on prototype cost, manufacturing cost, documentation, and an optional overview. Officials look for optimization of cost.


The cars are first thoroughly inspected for safety concerns, and then are evaluated in a number of qualifying tests. These tests include: top speed, acceleration, braking, land maneuverability, tractor pull, hill climb, mud bog, rock crawl and suspension.

The competition concludes with a four-hour endurance race. The cars race on the rough-terrain of the endurance track, competing to see who can complete the most laps in four hours, or to simply see how long the cars can last. It is therefore important to have a car built long before the competition, to completely tweak the components and prevent any part failures.