Skip to main content

Cornell's "impressive" champion student race-car team triumphs for 7th time at Formula SAE contest in Pontiac, Mich.

The Cornell team proudly displays the winner's cup, and other awards picked up along the way.

Cornell University engineering undergraduates swept the competition again this year at the annual five-day International Formula SAE collegiate design and motorsports competition at the Pontiac, Mich., Silverdome, which ended May 19.

Defending champion Cornell won overall with 927 points out of a possible 1000. The team had a 109-point lead over its nearest competitor, the University of Wisconsin (Madison), and also won $8,500 in various awards. It was Cornell's seventh win since 1988.

Carroll Smith, the race-car engineering author and consultant, who has been chief judge at FSAE for more than 10 years, said to the Cornell team, "[This is] the best design review I've ever seen; the best documentation we've ever seen. [This is] the first team in the history of the competition that the design judges have not been able to ask one question you couldn't answer. We are impressed."

The SAE (for Society of Automotive Engineers) competition, regarded as the premier and largest engineering student competition in the world, pits student teams from 140 universities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Korea, Japan and Venezuela against each other to conceive, design, fabricate and race with small formula-style cars.

Cornell students won first place in the design event, endurance race, acceleration race and skid-pad event, and second place in autocross. As overall victors at this year's (and last year's) intense competition, the Cornell team won a $3,000 prize and the SAE Foundation Cup, which is dedicated by the SAE in honor of Neil Schilke, Cornell MAE '62.

Standing are the two Cornell skid-pad drivers, Erich Leonard ME '02 (Top left,red/black driving suit) and Mike Nicolls ECE '03 (top right,white driving suit) comparing notes after their event on Friday morning. Team members Yuki Ishida ME '04 (bottom left) and Ken McEnaney ME '02 (bottom right) are working on the car.

The team's special awards included first place and $1,250 for the EDS PLM Solutions Best Engineering Design Award, first place and $1,500 for the Governor's Coalition E85 Award, first place and $1,250 for the Visteon Powertrain Cooling System Award, $500 for the Dynojet Highest Horsepower Award, first place and $750 for the Altair Engineering Best Use of Optimization in Design Award, third place and $250 in the Robert Bosch Corporation Engine Management System Award, first place for tires in the Goodyear Best Performance Award, and second place for the Hoosier Tire Autocross Award.The Cornell team members included more than 30 students from the colleges of Engineering, Arts and Sciences, Industrial and Labor Relations and Agriculture and Life Sciences, who designed, built and developed a new car for the competition. Student team leaders included Erich Leonard, Kenneth McEnaney and Timothy Reissman of mechanical engineering; Michael Nicolls of electrical engineering; and Diane Horey of industrial and labor relations. Albert George, the John F. Carr Professor of Mechanical Engineering, is the faculty member in charge of the design course, assisted by A. Brad Anton, associate professor of chemical engineering.

The competition includes performance, design, presentation and cost events. The students have to present their engineering design to the judges and defend their design decisions.

After reviewing the technical details of the Cornell car, chief judge Smith said "Overall, I have to say that this is the best car I have seen yet in the competition. At least, the best car to finish all of the events. And of course, what we have here is pretty close to total domination by Cornell this year. Cornell, congratulations."

The challenge of building an auto prototype for the competition spans both fall and spring terms at Cornell, with an emphasis on research and design in the fall and building in the spring. The Cornell project, which cost more than $20,000, was sponsored by alumni and companies including General Motors, Hunter Industries, Heller Industries and Boeing.

Media Contact

Media Relations Office