I’m a senior majoring in mechanical engineering and I joined Baja as a freshman, after being amazed at how students built a car themselves that could drive off jumps, through ditches, and race head-to-head with other teams’ cars. I wanted to build something that I could sit in and say, “I was a part of creating this.” Since then, I have learned numerous skills that I bring into my experiences in industry, and have gained countless friends and memories that continue to be the highlight of my Cornell experience. My favorite part of our team is the dedication to learning while maintaining a positive attitude – with every failure, there is a group of dedicated students eager to learn from mistakes, supported by a whole team of members ready to help and ready to enjoy creating an awesome car.
The drivetrain subteam designs and manufactures the vehicle's custom continuously variable transmission (CVT), gearbox, driveshafts, and wheel hubs. Component design is driven by extensive structural and thermal analysis that is validated with an engine dynamometer and on-car telemetry systems. With all vehicles in the competition limited to a 10 HP engine, a focus is placed on designing for reliability and power efficiency.
The suspension subteam is responsible for defining and achieving the desired handling characteristics of the car. The suspension constraints in a Baja car are unique to off-roading in that it must be able to tackle uneven rocks, logs, jumps, and hairpin turns. Through the design and manufacturing of custom linkages, ball joints and steering racks, as well as custom tuning of the springs and dampers, the suspension subteam is able to ensure that the vehicle maneuvers as needed with minimal driver effort.
The frame subteam is tasked with designing and manufacturing the roll cage and main structure of the Baja car, creating a safe, protective barrier between our driver and the harsh obstacles of the course. The frame must attach all of the other components of the car through a solid foundation.
The brakes subteam designs and manufactures custom master cylinders, rotors, and calipers. Design constraints are determined through on-car testing and a custom dynamometer, which are used to create a reliable, effective, and easy to maintain system.
The composites and ergonomics subteam designs and builds the seat, steering wheel and body panels, with a focus on human centered design and materials testing.
The business subteam acts as the liaison between the team and the Cornell community. We are responsible for recruiting new team members at the beginning of each semester, compiling a cost report for the competition, conducting purchases for the team, contacting alumni, corporations, and members of the community for sponsorships, designing and distributing public relations material, planning team travel, designing apparel, and maintaining the team website.