UNM’s motorsports team is gearing up for the largest collegiate engineering competition in the world.
Lobo Motorsports is sponsoring an autocross competition Saturday at UNM’s G parking lot to fundraise for the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers competition to be held in June. The race will be open to the public and any car or truck is allowed to participate.
Lobo Motorsports Project Manager Kirby Ann Witte said funds from the event would allow for a bigger team in the competition. She said that although the team has already started gathering funds, it could still use a little more money.
“We have already raised $43,000, which has allowed us to register for competition, buy materials for our car, maintain older cars, and pay for tires and fuel,” she said. “Now we just need to raise a little more to get the team to competition. Without this event, we may not be able to take enough people to be competitive.”
She said there will be a $40 registration fee for drivers who want to participate.
In the competition, drivers will have to navigate through obstacles in a track the organizers constructed in the G Lot. She said that although participants are allowed to use any type of car in the event, there will be time multipliers that vary by the make of a car. This will impose a handicap on the total time it takes certain makes of car to complete the race and will make the race more competitive.
Witte said her organization will ensure the competition is safe for participants. She said cars are subject to inspection by the team and that participants will have to sign a safety waiver before the race begins.
She said it is essential for her team to be able to participate in the FSAE competition.
“This competition gives students the closest thing to real world experience they can get,” Witte said. “Many employers recognize participation in FSAE as two years of work experience, which gives students a huge leg up when applying for jobs.”
Witte also said participation in the competition will improve the reputation of the University’s engineering department.
“Academic competitions like FSAE help to put UNM in the public eye,” she said. “It shows that UNM’s engineering department is competitive with other colleges. Lots of cool things are being done in the engineering schools, but FSAE may be the easiest to show off. Not everyone understands carbon nanotubes right away, but everyone (understands) a race car.”
In addition, Witte said the team uses its expertise and experience in the competition for community service around Albuquerque. She said it presents to schools around the city about the competition to get students interested in engineering.