In a press release issued Monday, May 12, Watkins Glen International announced a partnership with Cornell University that allows track access to the Cornell Racing Team. According to WGI, access will allow the organization "to practice and test their Formula SAE Team custom car in preparation for various competitions."
Formerly the Society of Automotive Engineers, SAE International sponsors college student organizations for the purpose of designing, building, testing and racing race cars, according to the Formula SAE website.
According to the release, back in 1986 Professor Albert R. George became the faculty advisor to oversee approximately a dozen mechanical engineering students who began researching and designing a race car from scratch. Now Cornell's Formula SAE group is comprised of 60 undergraduate and graduate students from nearly all of the schools of the university, according to their website.
Cornell describes the FSAE series this way: "FSAE is a worldwide competition in which university students from hundreds of schools worldwide work in teams to design, build, and compete with a small, formula-style race car. This endeavor requires the world’s brightest collegiate engineers to collaborate and construct an innovative, cutting-edge car that pushes the limits of racing technology further every year."
Cornell has a good track record in this endeavor. According to the Racing Team, "Competing with ARG13 [the 2013 car], Cornell Racing placed 6th overall at the annual FSAE Michigan competition, and claimed 1st place in the Acceleration Event with a time of 3.83 second - more than 0.2 seconds faster than the second place finisher. This was the team's highest competition placement since winning an unprecedented ninth championship title at FSAE Michigan in 2005."
The school is now working on ARG14, this season's competition car. The relationship with WGI will allow it to test the car on a world-class yet local track.
Jesse Greene, the 2014 Cornell Racing Team leader, noted: "This partnership is extremely helpful to our automotive design class. WGI is one of the world’s premier race tracks and it gives us our only access to a place where we can set up a test area that allows us to fully test our student designed and built car and train our student drivers."
The partnership will include the WGI logo appearing on this year's Cornell's SAE car. According to the release, the logo will appear at their annual competitions, FSAE Michigan and the University of Toronto Shootout.
The 2014 Cornell Racing car, ARG14, is a step forward from the 2013 design with more focus on weight reduction, ergonomics, and drivability. To add to drivability this year’s design features an aerodynamic package to increase cornering speeds and stability to aid in driving events such as skid pad, auto cross, and endurance. WGI’s unique twists and turns will be crucial in the testing of this new design’s effectiveness.
"The Cornell Racing program is remarkable and located right here, in our neighboring community," stated Michael Printup, President of Watkins Glen International. "It is great that we are able to team up with their engineering students and professors to help enhance an established and renowned program, making a technical racing connection across the region."