EL PASO -- Some of the best off-road vehicles built by engineering students from around the world are in West Texas for a race.
One hundred teams are ready to start their engines. The BAJA SAE competition gives students real experience designing and testing their vehicles. Their biggest test will be a four-hour race over rough terrain.
This year the University of Texas-El Paso is hosting the race. And El Paso’s rugged terrain will test these student-built vehicles.
One team from India hopes their vehicle will endure the four-hour race. Students from Mexico have even higher hopes.
"We’re expecting first place," one student said.
The competition challenges students to design and build safe off-road vehicles that withstand punishing conditions.
"It’s really difficult to get women to compete," University of Louisville student Alisha Bragg said. "They think it’s a guy sport. Really it’s everyone’s sport."
And everyone will be on the track. News 8 got a close look at the conditions. Rather than man-made -- this year it’s all natural terrain. A UTEP engineering student helped design the 1.3-mile course.
"We want to set the bar high and let them build something rugged," Adrian Lopez said.
The course took a lot of planning -- about a year. At least half of the vehicles are not expected to finish the race.
"After all these hours in class, it’s good to actually get a chance to put something together," West Point student TJ Rowe said.
The completion runs through the weekend and ends Sunday with the big four-hour race.