First comes the design, then the construction and before you know it Mini Baja Car design team members are getting down and dirty. They’re bouncing over rugged terrain, jumping over boulders and flying over jumps at test tracks. Building this baby is way cooler than sitting in a lecture hall. It’s hands-on learning for mechanical engineering students who work as a team on what is an annual Florida Tech project. The goal is to design, build and demonstrate a rugged off-road car that can clear rocks, logs and concrete steps, race long and hard for three to four days and still hold together. Teams demonstrate their Mini Baja Cars at the April design showcase and later test their mettle in the intercollegiate Society of Automotive Engineers Mini Baja Car competition. Team members also submit written reports, provide design evaluations and give oral presentations on their vehicle and are judged for ergonomics and functionality. Stellar performances in static and dynamic events clinch the prizes. By the end of this project, team members know they are real engineers!