Project Team: Cornell FSAE Racing

Cornell Racing: Cornell Engineer’s oldest Project Team!

My name is Andrew and I am a Junior chemical engineering major at Cornell. I am a part of many student activities, including club sports and Greek life, but I wanted to share my experience on Cornell Racing, the school’s oldest Engineering Project Team. Cornell Racing, or more affectionately known as “Car Team,” designs, builds, and races a formula-style race car every year. We have members from many different majors both in and out of the College of Engineering, so with a strong interest in race cars, engineering, or working on a project, we’re sure you’d be able to find a home within the team. Though we primarily recruit from prospective mechanical and electrical engineers now that we run a 420V powertrain, we’re committed to finding the best new members from any discipline.

Cornell Engineering student AndrewOne of the reasons I decided to go to Cornell was so that I could have a multidisciplinary education. Not just between colleges (like Arts and Sciences and Engineering) but also within the College of Engineering. Cornell Racing allowed me to become an engineer skilled in both mechanical and chemical aspects. I found the Car Team through the Project Team Fest, where all of the teams bring out their projects and give tours and demonstrations to the Cornell community. After joining in the fall of my freshman year, I found a home within the Suspension sub-team, working on making the connections between wheels and carbon fiber chassis. Now, I oversee the sub-team and work primarily on vehicle dynamics, making adjustments to how the car handles and performs in our various competition events.

On the team, I’ve seen some remarkable failures and successes. Driving our car, with a top speed of nearly 80 miles per hour, was just one of those successes. One of the most useful skills you’ll learn on a project team like Car Team is how to deal with the failures. Sometimes a part I designed won’t work, or it’s too hard to machine or something of that sort. Learning to iterate through design and lean on team members for creative solutions is a skill that I am extremely thankful for.

Cornell Engineering student AndrewAs you’ll learn, Cornell Engineering is a lot of work hard, play hard. The same is true for Cornell Racing. We pride ourselves on being 9-Time FSAE World Champions and are constantly working towards number 10. However, when we have a driving day or get together as a team, everyone has a great time and is able to decompress. From barbeques in the parking lot as one of the drivers are pushing the car to the limits, to various holiday events, the team is extremely close knit and I am extremely grateful for the opportunities it has presented me. As the oldest Project Team on campus (now 34 years old), we have a very large and dedicated alumni network, many of whom are still involved in some capacity or another with the team.
My time at Cornell certainly would not be the same without Cornell Racing, and the skills I learned outside of the classroom (CAD/Machining/Project Management) are all incredibly valuable. Most valuable of all, however, are the relationships I’ve formed with my teammates.

—Andrew, chemical engineering