Transition from Formula to Baja

Montana State University
Bozeman, Montana
DOI: 10.18258/1787
Raised of $2,000 Goal
Funded on 4/13/14
Successfully Funded
  • $2,000
  • 100%
  • Funded
    on 4/13/14

About This Project

Bobcat Motorsports is a dedicated and enthusiastic team of students from Montana State University competing in the Formula SAE competitions. Over the last two years, the team has moved its focus to adding Baja SAE to the team. Last year was dedicated to chassis and this year has been devoted to power-train, suspension, and steering. We hope to use the knowledge gained from years of Formula experience to help produce our first Baja car.

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What is the context of this research?

Bobcat Motorsports is a race team that competes in the Formula and Baja Society of Automotive Engineers competitions. The team provides students with hands on experience in racing design, fabrication, and competition. Every 2 years, our team must design and build a new car from the ground up. In the first year, our team begins the design and build process. An immense amount of time is devoted in designing, analyzing, and building our new rolling chassis. In the second year of the build cycle, the team turns the rolling chassis into a perfected machine. Again, an immense amount of time is taken to reach the final product. The rest of the vehicles systems are designed, analyzed, and built in the second year. Also, once the design and build phases are completed, we turn our attention to rigorous testing and tuning. We ready our final product for intense competition against teams from all around the world. Because we race in two entirely different competitions, we stagger our 2 year production cycles. Every year we produce a final vehicle, alternating between Formula and Baja SAE.

What is the significance of this project?

Our team members come from a wide variety of backgrounds, majors, and levels of knowledge. We come together to design and build high performance vehicles for SAE racing competitions. We provide students with the experience to pursue a career in the race or automotive industry. Many former team members have incredibly successful careers in the racing world. We strive to continue improving our team and contributing to the future of the racing world.

What are the goals of the project?

Our project goal is to produce a reliable and innovative Baja SAE vehicle and race this vehicle at competition in Kansas. Because of the differences between Baja and Formula, we are experimenting with the engine, shocks, the planetary gearbox required to effectively put power to the ground, and the car's steering rack. These parts are much different than the Formula equivalent and are not parts we have at our disposal. With the power-train assembly, we are transitioning from a motorcycle engine and transmission in formula, to a small Briggs and Stratton engine with a continuously variable transmission (CVT) as seen in snowmobiles coupled to a planetary gearbox. We are further transitioning to larger off-road air shocks from small mountain bike coil-over shocks. We are also transitioning to a more robust steering rack capable of handling the rigorous demands of off-road racing. These parts are critical to the design and will directly effect the success of the the vehicle. Assistance would allow us to purchase prefabricated assemblies that are too intensive to design and manufacture ourselves. These parts are essential in allowing us to accomplish our goal of manufacturing a reliable and innovative vehicle for the 2014 Baja SAE competition and proving that we can make the transition to off-road racing. Every team supporter will receive their name on the car taken to competition.


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Right now, the team is looking at manufacturing as many parts in house as possible. However, there are mission critical parts that we cannot manufacture and need to purchase. The team needs shocks, steering rack, and an engine for the car. With your help, the money will go to purchasing these parts for our Baja car. Any extra money you help us raise will go towards travel expenses to help team members be apart of the race in Kansas this summer.

Meet the Team

Bobcat Motorsports
Bobcat Motorsports

Team Bio

Bobcat Motorsports was founded in 2005. The team is organized and entirely student run with the help of our advisor, Robb Larson. The first car built by the students of Montana State was named #20. After months of hard work, #20 was ready for the Formula Student West competition held at the Auto Club Speedway in California. The team had a great first year at competition, taking 46th out of 70 teams. This has provided an excellent launching point for the teams future. Since the first year, the team has produced multiple top thirty finishes against the best teams in the world. We have also added the Baja SAE program which is in its first year.

Lab Notes

Nothing posted yet.

Press and Media

Updated model of the car

Original design of Baja car

Additional Information

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Twitter: @Bobcatracing

Project Backers

  • 7Backers
  • 100%Funded
  • $2,000Total Donations
  • $285.71Average Donation
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