A look inside the SAE cars: Formula & Baja


Cal Poly Racing is a student-run organization at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

It is the largest student chapter of Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) international in California. Composed of Formula SAE and Baja SAE, the team creates three cars for their competitions in spring.


Aero Hangar Machine Shop | Jan. 28 | The Hangar, located near Baggett Stadium, is a resource for student projects. The Cal Poly Racing team has cages to house their three vehicles, in addition to using the space to build and manufacture their parts. These vehicles are entered into the Society of Automotive Engineers’ (SAE) Collegiate Design Series competitions. Cal Poly Racing is the only California team to have vehicles in all three of competitions.  Cal Poly Racing Cages | Jan. 28 | There are two teams within Cal Poly Racing — Formula SAE and Baja SAE. However, there are three vehicles. Formula SAE has both an electric and a combustion car and Baja SAE has the off-road car. Both teams are currently in their build season in preparation for the competitions spring quarter. Aero Hangar Machine Shop | Jan. 28 | As president of Cal Poly Racing, Robyn Ribet is responsible for facilitating the building process and ensuring everything is running smoothly for competition. On this workday, mechanical engineering sophomore Ribet helped a team member use the horizontal band saw to cut a piece of metal. “A lot of other clubs on campus build and work on something but it never is really finished,” Ribet said. “Here we have very strict deadlines and we go to competition and we get to see the product we worked so hard on.” Aero Hangar Machine Shop | Jan. 28 | Mechanical engineering sophomore Kyle Kreitzman makes tweaks to the chassis, the mainframe of a car, which will be used for this year’s Baja SAE car. Their Baja SAE car is an off-road vehicle designed to safely and reliably overcome tough terrain. Aero Hangar Machine Shop | Jan. 28 | The epoxy mold is set aside to cure, strengthening the bond of the material. Once it is cured, a carbon fiber will be placed within the mold to shape it. The carbon fiber mold is what is placed on the bottom of the combustion car. Air that is flowing through the wheels will flow along this mold, keeping the car more stable. Aero Hangar Machine Shop | Jan. 28 – Two students, mechanical engineering freshman Tyler Allen and mechanical engineering sophomore Cameron Bellers, are the welders for all of Cal Poly Racing. “I help with welding on both the Formula and Baja cars so I kind of just go where I am most needed,” Allen said. “I just started doing this last quarter and got hooked on it.” Allen is pictured welding gears for the drivetrain, which is the system that connects to the wheels allowing them to move. Aero Hangar Machine Shop | Jan. 28 | Mechanical engineering freshman Tyler Olson grinds at a mount to give the surface a polished finish. This engine mount will be used in the Formula SAE combustion car. Engineering IV, Building 192 | Jan. 28 | For mechanical engineering senior Will Antes, he has known he wanted to go into automotive engineering since his junior year of high school. “When I got to Cal Poly, I immediately started going to the first couple meetings, and I realized my interests lay toward the Baja side so I’ve been on the team since pretty much my first week of freshman year.” Now, as technical director of Baja SAE, Antes is fulfilling his goals. He is responsible for ensuring that all car parts are designed with accurate dimensions. Aero Hangar Machine Shop | Jan. 28 | Formula SAE Technical Director Esther Unti stands next to last year’s combustion car. Unti is responsible for vehicle dynamics, in which she ensures the car’s design is of the proper measurements. Being on Cal Poly Racing has provided Unti with a learning experience that you can’t find anywhere else. “There’s a reason why all of our cars aren’t super amazing every year,” Unti said. “A) All of us are like 20, b) no one knows how to build a car and c) no one has any time, but the amount you end up having to learn is so massive and that’s my favorite part.” Aero Hangar Machine Shop | Jan. 28 | Last year’s car is used by their Business Team for marketing campaigns with sponsors and partners. However, this car is on its last leg. As it is build season, parts will be taken and remanufactured off this car to be used on their 2018 combustion car.

Competition Preparation

Click on each picture to hear how each Baja team member feels about the environment in the hangar as they prepare for the upcoming competitions.

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Master Welder

Meet the Man behind the Mask: Cameron Bellers.
Bellers, a mechanical engineering sophomore, jumped around in Cal Poly Racing until he settled on welding. He is responsible for all the welding for the Baja car.


Cal Poly Racing creates three vehicles: the FSAE combustion car, the FSAE electric car and the Baja car.

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