Momentum - November 2019 - 7

STUDENT
GENERATION

ONE-ON-ONE MATT HEYWOOD
MOMENTUM caught up via email with Baja SAE student participant Matt
Heywood from San Diego State University for a reflection on the team's
performance in 2019. He served as chassis lead/crew chief. Heywood
expects to graduate with a degree in mechanical engineering in December
2020. Here are his written responses to MOMENTUM questions.
How satisfying was it for the team to have placed in the Top 10 in
several Events and to have placed 12th or better Overall in all three
Baja SAE competitions?
This accomplishment was very satisfying for our team in 2019, because
our team struggled to even make it to all three competitions. Funding is
an issue for a lot of Baja teams, and this season that reality hit us harder
than ever before. We knew the drive to Rochester was going to be an
expensive one, and we almost decided to back out with just a few weeks
to go. Luckily, we made it work, and were able to win the best finish in
our team's history.
Given our results in the past two seasons, it could have been expected
that we would place in the top ten in 2019, but the team didn't see it
that way. We knew there would be a lot to improve on to maintain those
results, both in design work and when we got to competition. We learned
from our alumni and through years of Baja experience what it takes
to earn a top ten, so we pushed ourselves to continue to improve. Our
diligence and hard work proved successful, but our competitive spirit still
won't be satisfied until we're at the very top of the leaderboard.

The Aztec Baja car storms off the starting line for the Endurance
Event at Baja SAE California 2019.

What was the most important factor in the team's success in 2019?
I would say the biggest factor is how much passion each team member
brings to the car. There is no school credit for being on the Baja team,
and it sure doesn't help with a healthy sleep schedule. But somehow a
bunch of college students chose to spend their free time in a little room
under the engineering building pouring their blood and sweat into a
mini racecar. The alumni who came before us set the example of this
dedication and how it pays off for the success of the team.
What is the most interesting engineering feature of the car?
The most interesting feature on our car is without a doubt the carbonKevlar used for the hood and seat. The hood is the very first thing
anyone looking at the car will see, so our ergonomics/composites lead
(Hannah Pollek) decided to have some fun when designing it. The seat
was also designed to look great but, more importantly, it is the result of
driver comfort research and carbon-Kevlar material testing. This resulted
in a seat that was 8% more comfortable than the 2018 design for the
driver based on optimal joint angles, while also being 22% lighter.
What was the toughest engineering decision the team had to make?
The toughest engineering decision made by the team was knowing
there were areas to improve the car yet not having monetary assets
to make those improvements. We had to make hard decisions on
where the little money we had was spent. By going through the car
component by component, we determined the parts that absolutely
needed improvement and those that had proven reliable and performed

MOMENTUM

Team photo at Baja SAE Rochester 2019, where the team placed
third in the Endurance Event.
well. Through this, we significantly improved overall
performance and capabilities of the car, which allowed
us to achieve our best finish ever in 2019.
The main idea behind Baja SAE is to give studentengineers a hands-on educational experience to
help prepare them for the workforce. What was the
most important lesson you've learned as a Baja SAE
participant?
The most important lesson I have learned is how to plan
ahead for large projects. Building the car is a year-long
project, and without planning in August there's no way
the car would be built and tested in April. 

November 2019 7



Momentum - November 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Momentum - November 2019

Momentum - November 2019
Contents
EDITORIAL
BRIEFS
STUDENT GENERATION
One-on-One – Matt Heywood
Experience and innovation walk hand in hand
Baja SAE 2019: a tale of wind, rain (sleet/ mud), and sunshine
‘Complete, finish, win’
Low-speed controlled flight top of mind for Cal State Northridge team
Big data, big benefits for big machines
Mercedes-Benz EQS concept: the S-Class of electric vehicles?
SAE 101: EDGE Research Reports
New SAE student challenge centers on connected aircraft
Miscellaneous news for SAE Student Members!
Dossier: Steve Rehak of Detroit Flex Defense
What’s next?
Momentum - November 2019 - Momentum - November 2019
Momentum - November 2019 - Cover2
Momentum - November 2019 - Contents
Momentum - November 2019 - EDITORIAL
Momentum - November 2019 - BRIEFS
Momentum - November 2019 - STUDENT GENERATION
Momentum - November 2019 - 5
Momentum - November 2019 - 6
Momentum - November 2019 - One-on-One – Matt Heywood
Momentum - November 2019 - Experience and innovation walk hand in hand
Momentum - November 2019 - 9
Momentum - November 2019 - 10
Momentum - November 2019 - Baja SAE 2019: a tale of wind, rain (sleet/ mud), and sunshine
Momentum - November 2019 - ‘Complete, finish, win’
Momentum - November 2019 - 13
Momentum - November 2019 - 14
Momentum - November 2019 - Low-speed controlled flight top of mind for Cal State Northridge team
Momentum - November 2019 - Big data, big benefits for big machines
Momentum - November 2019 - Mercedes-Benz EQS concept: the S-Class of electric vehicles?
Momentum - November 2019 - SAE 101: EDGE Research Reports
Momentum - November 2019 - New SAE student challenge centers on connected aircraft
Momentum - November 2019 - Miscellaneous news for SAE Student Members!
Momentum - November 2019 - 21
Momentum - November 2019 - Dossier: Steve Rehak of Detroit Flex Defense
Momentum - November 2019 - 23
Momentum - November 2019 - What’s next?
Momentum - November 2019 - Cover3
Momentum - November 2019 - Cover4
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