Baja SAE Kansas

1,500+ college students from around the world are put to the ultimate test of their engineering skills in this challenging, but exciting and enjoyable competition to determine who has the best off-road baja vehicle.


LOCATION: 1905 East Centennial Drive, Pittsburg, Kansas (east of the Student Recreation Center and Bicknell Sports Complex and Kansas Polymer Research Center)


Each year, more than 1,500 engineering students from more than 100 colleges from around the world compete to have the design of their off-road baja vehicle purchased by a fictitious buyer. Four times since 2011, this international competition has been held in Pittsburg, Kansas, which provides unique challenges compared to other locations.

The Society of Automotive Engineers International held their first Baja SAE event in 1976, basing it off the famed Baja 1000 off-road desert race. Since then, the competition has evolved to include three competitions throughout the year, each held in a different part of the county, with each providing their own challenges: along the east cost, in the central U.S., and along the west coast.

The Baja team at Pittsburg State University had competed in these and similar competitions across the U.S. and internationally since 1992. In 2011, Pittsburg State was added to the rotation of sites for the competition. The Baja SAE Kansas was again held at PSU in 2017 and 2018, bringing in teams from across the globe, including Canada, Mexico, Brazil, India, and South Africa.

In addition to a mini career fair, there is also a convoy to Downtown Pittsburg where a car show is held, known as “Baja’s on Broadway”, so that competitors can show off their vehicles to the locals.

“Rumble Through The Jungle”

Over a period of four days, vehicles are inspected, tested on short tracks for maneuverability, speed, and other features, then put to the final test, in a four-hour endurance race on a 1.5 mile track.

Being the second in a series of three competitions within the year, Baja SAE Kansas is held in Pittsburg during the Spring. Being a desert oriented vehicle, the timing provides a challenge designers must account for, and drivers look forward to: mud.

This (mud) sucks. But it’s so much fun!

Unknown competitor while scraping mud off their clothes