Operational Baja Cars

All Baja SAE designs are based around a 10HP Briggs and Stratton engine. The engine cannot be modified or altered in anyway, so it is up to each team to design around the engine to produce a competitive car. Each year the MSU Baja Race Team approaches this task with renewed enthusiasm, working together to build on previous successes while developing new ideas and technologies to create a custom vehicle.

Luna

2019 - Luna competed in all 3 North American competitions (Tennessee, California, New York) with a multitude of drivers. The team secured 2 top ten acceleration finishes, as well as a top ten hill climb finish. Luna featured a re-designed rear suspension system integrated with a brand new driveline system. Luna also featured a complete new chassis design, switching to the rear bracing style.


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Envy

2018 - Maryland and Kansas were the two competitions that Envy participated in, with Hana Irvine and Luke Russell as the drivers. The team placed 21st in acceleration and 24th in hill climb at Maryland and 26th in maneuverability, 15th in design and 6th in sales presentation in Kansas. Envy featured in-house manufactured driveshafts along with a new gearbox iteration for improved acceleration.


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Nyx

2017 - NYX was the lightest vehicle MSU Baja ever made at its time! Thanks to NYX's light weight, it was also the fastest accelerating car we have built. Speed was not the only thing we focused on however. Agility is a huge factor into Baja competitions as well and thanks to our lead suspension designer Ray Renaud we implemented coilover suspension which helped our cornering and stability. The switch back to coilover suspension was a unique suspension challenge and one that has been iterated for improvement every year since.


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Ace

2016 - Ace competed in all 3 SAE competitions during its inaugural year and is still a frequent at Winter and Midnight Mayhem baja events. Ace featured a vastly improved gearbox from Betty as well as a whole new driveshaft system that switched from CV to universal joints. The driveshafts also featured unique titanium welded driveshafts. Ace performed very well in all 3 endurance races and showed vast durability improvements from Betty.


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Black Betty

2015 - Betty was built over the course of the 2014-2015 school year. Betty's highlights include a custom built gearbox, a completely new chassis design, and a new rear suspension configuration. Betty competed in Auburn, Maryland, and Oregon. In Auburn, Betty placed 54th after having to withdraw from the endurance race, in Maryland, she placed a season high 25th overall, and in Oregon, 35th place. One particular highlight is that in Maryland Betty completed the endurance race without anything breaking, and never having to leave the track other than for fuel. 


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Cerberus

2014 - Cerberus competed at Baja SAE Kansas, and Illinois  Some of Cerberus’s  notable accomplishments are the 14th place in sales in Kansas, as well as a 13th place in Design in Illinois. Cerberus was the first car since 2010 to finish the entire four hour endurance race.

The engine delivers power to the wheels via a belt-driven continuously variable transmission and a Dana Spicer transaxle. Cerberus was the first car in MSU Baja history to use a transaxle, which incorporates the gearbox and an open rear differential in one self-contained unit.

The front suspension is a short long arm suspension that is custom designed to withstand the harshest off-road terrains. The front suspension features knuckles and hubs that were student designed. These designs incorporated multiple iterations of FEA with force data taken from vehicle testing to ensure strength and weight reduction in unstressed areas. The rear suspension is a trailing arm suspension system that incorporated an anti-roll bar to reduce body roll during cornering.

The chassis is comprised of TIG-welded 4130 Chromoly steel tube selected for its high strength-to-weight ratio. The unique shaped chassis is designed to safely transmit forces under severe driving conditions and keep the driver comfortable during long drives. The body panels and safety guarding are constructed out of lightweight carbon fiber.

Cerberus no longer competes in SAE events, but is continued to be raced in non-SAE events throughout the year and used for driving practice at our test track.


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Nadia

2012-13: This vehicle delivers power via a belt-driven continuously variable transmission and a high-low range gearbox with driver input.  The chassis is comprised of TIG-welded 4130 Chromoly steel tube selected for its high strength-to-weight ratio. The body panels and safety guarding are constructed out of lightweight carbon fiber. She features an open differential to transfer power to the wheels that is used in turn with a cutting brake for maximum power transfer for increased maneuverability through tight corners. Nadia is our second car to incorporate a rear multi-link suspension.

 Nadia no longer competes in SAE events, but is continued to be raced in non-SAE events throughout the year and used for driving practice at our test track. Nadia is currently being rebuilt to be used with an 18 horsepower engine (compared to the usual 10 horsepower), the goal being to make a fun, fast car for the team to drive outside of competitions.


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Athena

2011 - Athena is all about being light and nimble, weighing in under 370 pounds. The vehicle delivers power via a belt-driven continuously variable transmission and a high-low range gearbox with driver input. The chassis is comprised of TIG-welded 4130 Chromoly steel tube selected for its high strength-to-weight ratio. The body panels and safety guarding are constructed out of lightweight carbon fiber. She has a custom limited slip differential to transfer power to the wheels. Athena is our first car to incorporate a rear multi-link suspension that reduces weight, flex from loading, and better suspension dynamics.

Athena no longer competes in SAE events, but is continued to be raced in non-SAE events throughout the year and used for driving practice at our test track.


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Rhonda

2010 - Rhonda placed 9th overall at the water world challenge at the east competition hosted by RIT.

Rhonda delivers power via a belt-driven continuously variable transmission and a custom planetary gearbox that can be taken apart in minutes.  She has an open differential to transfer power to the wheels that is used in turn with a cutting brake for maximum power transfer for increased maneuverability through tight corners. The chassis is comprised of TIG-welded 4130 Chromoly steel tube selected for its high strength-to-weight ratio. The body panels and safety guarding are constructed out of lightweight carbon fiber.

Rhonda no longer competes in SAE events, but is continued to be raced in non-SAE events throughout the year and used for driving practice at our test track.


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Willy

2008 - Willy is the team's first four-wheel drive vehicle.  An electronically-engaged shaft-driven front differential allow the driver to select between rear or four-wheel drive with the flick of a switch.  The vehicle delivers power via a belt-driven continuously variable transmission and a high-low-reverse gearbox linked to a driver-controlled shifter.  All of these components offer a plethora of power-train configurations to match the varying conditions faced during a Baja race.  Every aspect of the car has been engineered to minimize weight without compromising strength.  The chassis is comprised of TIG-welded Chromoly steel tube selected for its high strength-to-weight ratio; body panels are constructed out of lightweight carbon fiber, able to absorb impact without breaking.


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Car #4

2007 - Car 4 competed… The our most award winning car in the history of Michigan State Baja. She finished 8th place in the Midwest comp and 4th place in the East and West Comps.

Car 4 delivers power via a tuned Polaris continuously variable transmission and a Polaris gearbox.  The chassis is comprised of TIG-welded 4130 Chromoly steel tube selected for its high strength-to-weight ratio. The body panels and safety guarding are constructed out of lightweight carbon fiber. Four features an independent rear suspension with anti-roll bar to increase stiffness for cornering. Four also uses an open differential with a cutting brake for increased maneuverability.