Racing into sustainable energy


Velox Racing UTSA poses together for a club photo. Photo Courtesy of Velox Racing UTSA

Elaina Suarez

Founded in April 2017 by Peter De La Cruz, Donald Perez, Sam Schraff, Nikki Kalt and Michelle Longsworth, the Velox Racing club is on a fast pace to compete in their first competition in June 2018.

Velox Racing UTSA will design and manufacture a fully-electric race car. The club is made up of mostly mechanical and electrical engineering students but welcomes all disciplines. Next June, Velox Racing UTSA will compete in an international competition hosted and organized by the Society of Automotive Engineers.

Since July, Velox has been designing their race car. The design portion of the project is computer-based and involves teaching the software skills members will use. Once design is finished in December, members begin to manufacture the car with raw materials.

“Those are our major goals, and we encourage all members to participate,” De la Cruz said. “What is so interesting about us is that students in this organization get the experience they need to work for companies like Tesla, the “Big 3” of Detroit and many other automotive giants.”

This will be the first time a UTSA organization competes in Formula SAE Electric in Lincoln, Nebraska. Velox Racing will rely on their devoted members, their faculty advisor Dr. August Allo and their corporate sponsors as they take on an international stage in an up-and-coming industry: electric cars.

“Myself and Donald identified the need at UTSA for an engineering organization that combined electrical and mechanical engineering,” De La Cruz said. “Currently, we do not have the option for interdisciplinary work within the College of Engineering, so we decided the best way to combine these into one project was to form a team solely concerned with building electric race cars every year and competing.”

De La Cruz sees potential in his new organization; he envisions a tremendous amount of growth and professional development. “Freshmen joining this organization could potentially see internships as soon as the summer of 2018 at companies like SpaceX, Tesla or GM,” he said.

De La Cruz, Perez and other members made the executive decision to transition their original organization, Roadrunner Racing, focusing on internal combustion engine vehicles, to the advanced electrical side, Velox Racing. The organization focuses on recruiting underclassmen because they “are our future, we can’t exist without them,” and they are one of the main components to keeping this club around.

De La Cruz is ready to leave a legacy by taking risks and gaining sponsorship and maintaining the desire to improve. “We welcome students of all majors and have a place for everyone,” he said. “No car knowledge is needed because we are always willing to teach; and if any member knows something we don’t, then we are always willing to learn.

“New opinions and approaches to problems make engineering an exercise in teamwork, and we could always benefit from more teamwork.”