An MIT Alumni Association Publication

Jim Cuseo SM ’05: “This is a picture from 2005 of me (right) and two other members of the MIT Motorsports team with our formula-style race car (sans bodywork to show off all the cool internals) outside the doors of Building 10. The three of us were the 2004–2005 leadership team (sitting in the car is Richard James ’04, SM ’06 and at left is Joseph Audette ’05). 

“I actually ended up coming to MIT for the motorsports team. After an undergrad degree in mechanical engineering from the George Washington University, I wanted to get a master’s degree somewhere that would provide me with a strong hands-on experience. And as my career goal was to land in motorsports—I did work for two years in Formula 1—I looked only at schools with Formula SAE teams. [Formula SAE is a student design competition organized by SAE International, previously known as the Society of Automotive Engineers, SAE]. 

“During my campus visit, I arranged for a meeting with Richard, who was one of the MIT Motorsports cofounders. He gave me a tour of the shop and from that moment I knew I was choosing MIT. 

“My two years on that team taught me much of what I use every day—first as an engineer and now as an engineering leader. It provided me with the ability to put my book knowledge to use in a way where it all finally seemed useful—more than just a series of equations to be solved. I remember participating in the yearly competitions, where we’d travel as a team to Detroit to race our car against other schools. That was a grueling week of little sleep, lots of work, but so much fun. 

“My experience on the team was the first time that I designed something (the air intake system) from a blank slate, with very little to guide me. I was able to fabricate it myself, test it, then repeat this process again until we had a design that met our goals. In my second year, as the chief power train engineer, I got my first taste of leading a team through the development of an entire system. The experience of fabricating and assembling a very complicated system reinforced the ‘mind and hand’ approach that makes MIT special.

“The team was like a family. Like all families, we didn’t always agree and sometimes we fought—but, in the end, we were all proud of what we created together. The team is responsible for some of my longest friendships and has been connected to every job I have held post-graduation. Even today, I continue to support the team because I truly feel that without MIT Motorsports, I wouldn’t be who I am today.” 

Jim Cuseo lives in the Boston area and is the vice president of design and development for Markforged, a local additive manufacturing company cofounded by MIT Motorsports alum Gregory T. Mark ’03, SM ’05 and David Benhaim ’13.

A red race car in a parking lot surrounded by a group of people

Jim Cuseo sits in the car with the MIT Motorsports team at the annual competition in Pontiac, MI, in 2005.