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Clarkson Team Lands Top-Place Finish in Mini Baja East Competition

[A photograph for media use is available at]

During the three-day competition, the team maneuvered over rough terrain and thick mud, traversed through deep water, and climbed steep hills as they were tested for handling, maneuverability, acceleration, endurance and water mobility. The team was also evaluated on written and oral presentations by a panel of judges that included engineering and vehicle development experts from the automotive and off-highway vehicle industry. Prior to the competition, the students submitted detailed safety, design and cost reports for judges to review. Clarkson University Mini Baja Team

Along with their top-placing finish, the team received the Technology Innovation Award presented by Digital Engineering Systems, first-place Overall Dynamic Award presented by Honda, and tied for first place with TTU in the Water Maneuverability competition.

The first day's events consisted of the Design Judging and overall presentation of the car.

Day two involved Log Pulling, Acceleration, Water Maneuverability and Suspension and Traction competition. The Clarkson team captured second place in the Log Pull event and finished in eighth in both the Land Maneuverability and Suspension competitions.

A large part of Clarkson's success at the competition was that they were the only team to make use of a four-wheel steering system in their vehicle. In past years, Clarkson teams have attempted to incorporate four-wheel steering, but found it difficult to integrate the technology as a beneficial addition to the vehicle.

In its history, Clarkson's Mini Baja team has never finished outside of the top-15 in the Eastern regional competition. The team has taken multiple top-place honors in previous competitions, including five finishes in the top-five. This is the team's highest finish since 1998 when the team took first place at the East competition.

"We hope that the team's success will continue in future years, say the Mini Baja co-captains Jason Schussler and Greg Michalski. Every top-place finish and award is a credit not only to the team itself, but to the University as a whole. The team proudly represents Clarkson each year, and our accomplishments reflect the continuing knowledge and support that the University passes on to the team."

The Society of Automotive Engineers includes more than 90,000 members from over 97 countries. Members are engineers, business executives, educators and students. SAE members share information and exchange ideas for advancements in the engineering of mobility systems. The SAE Mini Baja East Competition aims to provide students with a project that involves planning and manufacturing tasks found when introducing a new product to the consumer industrial market. Teams compete against one another to have their design accepted for manufacture by a fictitious firm. Students must function as a team to not only design, build, test, promote and race a vehicle within the limits of the rules, but also to generate financial support for their project and manage their educational priorities.

The SPEED program is one of the Wallace H. Coulter School of Engineering hallmark initiatives promoting the "Vision of a Clarkson Education" through experiential learning by hands-on application of academic theory to real-world problems. SPEED receives its primary financial support from Alcoa, Corning, Eastman Kodak, the General Electric Fund, and Procter & Gamble and was recognized with the 2001 Boeing Outstanding Educator Award and the 2002 Corporate and Foundation Alliance Award for its exceptional contributions to improving undergraduate engineering education.

Clarkson University, located in Potsdam, New York is a private, nationally ranked university with a reputation for developing innovative leaders in engineering, business, the sciences, health sciences and the humanities. At Clarkson, 3,000 high-ability students excel in an environment where learning is not only positive, friendly and supportive but spans the boundaries of traditional disciplines and knowledge. Faculty achieves international recognition for their research and scholarship and connects students to their leadership potential in the marketplace through dynamic, real-world problem solving.

PHOTO CAPTION: Clarkson University Mini Baja team finished second overall out of 56 teams competing in the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Mini Baja East Competition at Auburn University.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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