President Automotive and Farm Equipment Sectors, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd.

BAJA SAEINDIA 2012 was the first time the Mahindra & Mahindra was the title sponsor. How was the experience and what does M&M take away from it?

M&M has been associated with BAJA SAEINDIA since inception and infact the event was initiated in India during my tenure as the President of SAEINDIA in 2006 – 2007.

Last year, the role of Title sponsors gave us the privilege of being actively involved in behind scenes activities. Around 50 M&M executives from various manufacturing processes participated as Judges, Organising Committee (OC) members, interviewers and witnessed first-hand, the infectious enthusiasm of the next generation of Auto passionate engineers. The BAJA platform enables engineering students to unleash their passion for designing, manufacturing and insights into the workings of an automobile.

We use this opportunity to identify promising engineers, exchange views and interact with them in the HR meet where the students are interviewed and selected on the spot. Over the years many students have joined M&M and are currently handling very promising portfolios.


President, SAEINDIA and Director, ARAI

How tough was it when ARAI started the event in 2007? What were the main challenges? And how’s it now?

When ARAI initiated BAJA SAEINDIA in 2007, we had three main challenges; Financial viability; safety and quality.

Financial viability; The budget was one crore rupees. Companies like M&M, JK Tyres, ITW Chennai, Cummins, GM, BPCL and Lombardini came forward to sponsor the event. NATRIP gave around 250 acres of land in Pithampur.

Safety, we were wondering how danger ous it would be for a teenagar under graduate student to drive a self made prototype. To ensure that the event would be 100 per cent safe, we made a rule book, arranged various workshops across country, trained faculty, trained technical inspectors and drafted a technical inspection sheet for intermediate inspection at various universities. A five-point seat belt, fuel tank tray, kill switch, fire extinguisher, tilt test, brake test, egress in five seconds, etc. were made compulsory.

Quality, Besides quality of cars, quality of running the event is also very important. Entire automotive industry has given technical judges. Technical inspectors, event organizers and HR & PR executives to make this event a great success. Today, when the sixth edition is running, I express great satisfaction in all aspects of Baja.

Tell us about the relationship between BAJA and the automobile industry.

BAJA is a joint initiative between SAEINDIA, ARAI and the automotive industry. R&D heads from the industry act as technical judges in virtual and main event. One of the aims for BAJA is human resource development for the automotive industry. Since the last five BAJA events, automotive industries have given on the spot offer letters to at least 300 engineering students during the event’s HR meet. Moreover, students mention in their resume that they are BAJA team members and that gives them an edge over other students. Around 3000 of them are now in the automotive industry. When will help Indian automotive industry to develop new vehicles in years to come.



How has hosting the BAJA helped NATRIP over the last five years?

NATRIP has been nurturing BAJASAEINDIA since its beginning with the aim of promoting Interests among budding automotive engineers. BAJA SAEINDIA 2013 marks the sixth year of support from NATRIP.

I am very happy to see that this initiative has come a long way and that the interest in this event and participation has grown many folds . This event is also nurturing the culture of innovation and many innovative ideas are being used by the participating teams. We have certainly gained in creating greater aware-ness amongst all stakeholders, including the engineering colleges, about the state of the art automotive testing and R&D facilities that are being set up in Indore and other Six centres across India.

I am sure that this will create interest in many students to take up automotive R&D as a choice of career. Also, BAJA SAEIN DIA is becoming a brand that everybody is proud to be associated with. The HR meet that is organized at the event drives recruitment of fresh talent. NATRIP has benefitted from this HR drive along with other companies in finding young and dynamic talent.

What kind of progression can we expect from the event this year?

When we started off in December 2007, we had participation from 26 teams and this year we have 120 selected teams. The buzz it has created among students. People and the media highlight its progress. The event management will be better managed and organized this time with new features and consequently will set the stage to host the event at an international level. With this year’s theme as zero tolerance. NATRIP hopes that all 120 vehicles will make it to the Endurance Event.

Please share NATRIP’s future plans.

NATRIP’s focus will be on making an all-round improvement in infrastructure required to host such events at an international level. We will continue our support to such SAEINDIA activities in fulfillment of the Automative mission plan- 2016 launched by the Indian government.

Nirmal Matharu

Convenor, 2013 Baja SAEINDIA, Sr.VP and Plant Head Mahindra 2 Wheelers Ltd.

BAJA SAEINDIA is now an established event and is growing is stature. How is the response from the Industry when it comes this event?

BAJA has indeed gained in stature and Pithampur (NATRIP facility) has become the Mecca for future mobility engineers of India.

Our Endeavour is to take this event to the international level and open avenues for learning between students across borders. As for the response from the industry, there are two sides to it. The whole auto industry benefits from this event, right from the OEMs to component manufacture but only a particular set of industries contribute of it. A major part of the industry remains untapped or doesn’t contribute to the initiative. We at Mahindra have been supporting this event since inception and now since last year are playing a major role as the title sponsor.

What’s the kind of logistics and planning involved in conducting an event as large as BAJA SAEINDIA?

Every year BAJA is a Greenfield project for its organisers. The site is at remote location and has no access to any amenities within a 15 km radius. One can imagine the logistics required to accommodate around 3000 students, 200 faculty members and 300 guests from various industries and nearly 1000 members of the media for almost five days. It’s the planning and passion which makes it possible. The planning cycle begins immediately after the event. Having learnt lessons from it is a round the year exercise. The countdown begins after Virtual BAJA ( mostly in august) and by December .it’s rush hour –truly a nightmare for the team executing this .especially since WE try to set a new standard year after year.

How is the response from the colleges in helping conduct this event?

Colleges have been supporting the BAJA OC for conducting the event by facilities for virtual BAJA, providing buses for participants and helping in conducting the BAJA aptitude test- the gateway for placement opportunities for participants and also in valuation and computation of results of BAT. Besides this colleges also help us conducting the HR meet.


Joint convenor and GM Engineering and Service. Cummins Turbo Technologies.

From the engineering aspect how important is an event like BAJA SAEINDIA for the students?

For every engineer, it’s a dream to turn their innovative engineering ideas into reality.

BAJA SAEINDIA gives that opportunity to these students ,not only to think about the ideas but also execute those using all the engineering skills and applied knowledge one has learned through books and the traditional curriculum. Such an opportunity makes them ready very early to succeed in their professional life since they are judged on parameters that is used in the industry. I think engineering students should make the most out of such an opportunity, where they can learn from mutual skills and also develop leadership skills through team work and get ready for the future challenges they would face in their professional career.

From a manufacture’s perspective how does the automobile industry view the BAJA SAEINIDA?

Automobile industry has always seen a mismatch in terms of their expectations of the skill levels from young, fresh and bright engineers to support their product development. BAJA SAEINDIA is seen as a move towards cultural changes in stretching the learning beyond the classroom to real, practical hands on experience and this enhances the skills of the students to the levels the industry expects. This change in culture definitely drives engineering students to know their strengths, weaknesses and allows them to hone their skills to support the automobile industry.

What is the next level for an event like the BAJA SAEINDIA?

We can clearly see the growth in the participation from engineering colleges every year. Now we have a fair amount of maturity in students about getting their ideas converted into really. The next level would be to make the vehicle match the international standards of safety and quality. The event organization is continuously striving to meet expectations from the perspective of event management, focus of safety, innovation and zero tolerance for the defaulters.


Chief Technical Officer, Cummins India

Tell us about the association that Cummins has with BAJA SAEINDIA.

Cummins has always been very actively associated with BAJA SAEINDIA, contributing to the events as co-sponsors and in other ways very actively participating for the last four to five years

Financially, Cummins has been contributing significantly both directly and indirectly to this prestigious event which has been helping the student community. Our participation in the BAJA is not limited just to the co-sponsorship but also helping coordinate, run and make the event a great experience for the participants especially the engineering students. Cummins has provided technical and leadership support to conduct the event successfully with the conveners for past two years being from Cummins and the joint-convener this year being from Cummins. Engineering managers from various Cumins entities in India participate very actively in the technical judging process. Since our turbocharger plant is located in Pithampur, we ensure that the right people are made available for all the support activities in managing the event successfully. We have been very successful in recruiting some very talented students for several of our engineering teams through this activity and will ensure that our participation is enhanced every year.

From an employer, how important is this event for the student?

The experience that engineering students garner through the competition are invaluable, providing a strong foundation for their future growth and success. A great opportunity for some real hands-on work Here they get first hand, real experience to imagine, ideate, innovate, design, manufacture, market and use their products and get to immediately experience the actual failure or successes. For any employer, this event is a great way to recruit the right talent with some real life experience and a strong foundation. We have recruited the right talent with some real life experience and a strong foundation. We have recruited successfully at this event and will continue to provide job opportunities and successful careers to support their passion for engineering.


Advisor, BAJA SAEINDIA and Deputy Director and Head, ARAI academy.

Being someone who suggested the idea of the Mini Baja, how as the event evolved over the year?

BAJA has become a revolution, a brand in itself. Our vision was out-of-classroom education, a unique interactive team work that helps create practical thinking oriented.

Passionate engineers. Though the years, I have seen BAJA grow leaps and bounds with just 27 teams in 2007 to 260 teams in 2013. With more participation from the industry to sponsor this muti crore project and more judges, technical inspector and volunteers coming forward to help with this event, it is gradually becoming self-sustaining. With our zero tolerance policy introduced this year. BAJA SAEINDIA is definitely in the right course, with standards comparable to BAJA internationally. The energy and vigour of the students is tremendous. their innovation so novel that they are capable of being imbibed into industry without any prepossessing. the future of BAJA looks spectacular.

What is the current member strength of the BAJA SAEINDIA and how has the growth been? The strength of the event is certainly the students. It’s their passion and dedication and their will to transcend the theoretical knowledge into reality which in turn motivates people like me in the industry to be enthusiastically connected to the event year after year. The event’s growth can directly be gauged with the exponential increase in volume of the students each year. Today, we have 45,000 SAEINDIA members but only less than a 10 percent of them get a chance to participate in the event.

What would you like to see included in the BAJA SAEINDIA in the future?

With better standards of event management and better quality of cars. I would like to foresee BAJA SAEINDIA as an international event, attracting participants from all over the world and more importantly the global industry taking advantage of these readymade engineers we have been creating. The best is yet to come.


Technical Director, Briggs & Stratton

Tell us about your association with BAJA SAEINDIA.

Briggs & Stratton Started BAJA with a joint venture with SAEINDIA in 2001. Internationally B&S is conducting a joint venture with SAE and this started in India last year.

B&S, India is supporting this programme by providing the engine to the teams at the discoutn (50 Per cent). partly sponsors the event and also coordinates engine inspection and technical support. B&S India does not make financial gains on this project. In comparison to last year the number of participants to this events has increased substantially.

What are the technical specifications of the engines that will be used in this year’s event? The basic numbers are 305cc, 10PS and 19.Nm. The rest are as given in this table.

Engine Petrol
Configuration Horizontal
Cylinders One
SKU 20S232-0036-F1
TOP NO LOAD SPEED set eng no – load speed to 3600+/-100rpm
Oil Capacity 28 fl oz
Air Cleaner Air Cleaner, Ultra low mt panel dual ele.
Bearings Bearings, plain mag
Blower Housing Plat, Trim – colour 290-satin black
Bore Type Sleevedore
Bore Size 3.12
Stork 2.44
Crank/Crankcase Crankshaft no 793723
Casing clams casing clams & Screw, loose
Controls Groups control group 02, model 20
Cylinder Head Cylinder, aluminum w/c. sleeve
Deffectors Deffectors, without
Dipsticks Dipstick, without
Oil Drain Oil fill, dual
Misc Fuel shut off value, installed
Flywheel Flywheel, heavy non-elec start and non-alt
Convenor Mechanical governor
Exhaust Muffler, supper lo-tone W/tube outlet installed
Spark plug Spark plug, Eme ‘Q’
Starting System Starter, rewind position – 10-30 o’ clock

With the engine being a crucial bit how do you ensure that students make the best use of it? Students can log on to the SAE website or visit the Briggs racing Facebook page. We also conduct zone wise orientation courses for the team. In 2011, we conducted courses in six locations. Our team has also been responding to queries from students, we are also in the process of developing a video with SAEINDIA.


VP Engineering and operations, GM Technical Centre, India.

THow helpful is GM’s association with BAJA SAEINDIA, for both parties?

Our Association began in 2011 which engagement of GM Product and Manufacturing engineers participating in both the virtual and final race competition.

The event is the good flat form for interaction with young engineers as project judges on various topics concerning the automobile industry. This gives the students an opportunity to interact with GM experts in an event that is able to provide a hands-on experience in vehicle development that supplements their classroom learnings and to demonstrate their engineering capability to prospective employers.

What are the technical specifications of the engines that will be used in this year’s event?

The basic numbers are 305cc, 10PS and 19.Nm. The rest are as given in this table.

What would you like to be seen incorporated into this event?

The BAJA SAEINDIA event requires close cooperation between the Indian Automobile industry, the colleges, Universities and BAJA SEAINDIA organisation as this event to continues to grow. The BAJA SAEINDIA event could be opened up for international participation. within Asia while this will pose challenges in terms of language, logistics, cost and cultural differences. The opportunity diversify and provide international exposure will benefit the students immensely.

How much technical knowledge can students gain from this event?

The students get an opportunity to experience the challenges associated with developing an automotive product to balance real world elements such as budget, timings quality and performance. The process of building a project proposal and subsequent vehicle execution requires many skills that are expected of a professional engineer including functional, technical, analytical, problem solving, Communication skills and the ability to work in a team environment, it also serves as a great forum for students to learn from other teams.