The Cornell Formula SAE race team unveiled its latest racing vehicle to the Cornell community the afternoon of April 29.
Student team members introduced ARG11 (ARG is longtime faculty adviser Professor Al George's initials) to a gathered crowd on the Duffield patio to update their progress and describe their latest exploits, including a pending trip overseas. For the first time in its two-decade history, Cornell Racing is going transatlantic, heading to Formula Student Germany Aug. 2.
"We are interested in Germany specifically because there is a lot of cutting-edge research happening on the teams there," explained Neil Lewis '13, Cornell Racing's business team leader. "Teams there tend to have a lot more funding than American teams because racing is much more popular in Europe, so they are able to do a lot of things that we can't; so we want to go there and learn from them -- and of course beat them."
The oldest of Cornell's engineering student project teams, Cornell Racing was founded in 1987 by George, the J.R. Carr Professor of Mechanical Engineering, and 12 students. Now, 24 years later, it encompasses 60 people representing 15 majors across four undergraduate colleges and two graduate programs.
The team's purpose is to design, build, test and compete with the fastest and most reliable car in Formula SAE, which is a student competition organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers. The car is judged on a number of factors, including design, cost, presentation, acceleration and endurance.
Cornell FSAE has won nine world championships. Most recently, the team took the fastest lap time at Lime Rock Park's inaugural University Formula Car Program in Connecticut, April 25. They next compete at SAE Michigan, May 11-14, before going to Germany Aug. 2-7. They then go to the University of Toronto Shootout in late September.
ARG11 is the team's most "powerful and technologically innovative" car built to date, Lewis said. Some of its features: carbon fiber wheels, a rear steel subframe, a carbon fiber chassis, and acceleration of 0-60 in less than four seconds. It is powered by a Yamaha YZF 600R motor running E85 ethanol, and it weighs a mere 465 pounds.
The students made sure to thank Cornell staff, alumni and sponsors for support over the years. Among their corporate sponsors: General Motors, Coastal Enterprises, Groton Cycle Center, Monster Tool Co. and Pennon Composites.