ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The coronavirus put a stop to a lot of new construction but the University New Mexico recently announced they will begin construction on a new facility for their race car program. From zero to sixty in seconds. These are formula one and IndyCar style race cars. They’re built from scratch by mechanical engineering students in the formula SAE program at UNM.
“So I actually didn’t know about cars when I first started and a lot of other students were like that too,” said Sam Casaus, who just graduated but was part of the program. Casaus said they’ve always had to build the cars in a cramped and outdated space in the old mechanical engineering building. “The basement, the notorious basement that everyone talks about,” said Casaus. “In the past, its been a little close to each other, sharing the same tools.”
That’s about to change all thanks to a $1.5 million gift from the estate of former Lobo and school of engineering alumnus Dana C. Wood. That money is going towards building a new 7,000 square foot high-tech facility on the ground floor of the Farris Engineering Center for the race car program. It will be called the ‘Dana C. Wood FSAE Racing Lab.’
“This is just going to be leaps and bounds of improvement for the next teams that are going to take advantage of it,” said Casaus.
Although the coronavirus put the brakes on finishing the class of 2020’s race car and couldn’t compete with it, Casaus believes the new facility will make UNM the team to beat in the future. “It’s going to be something prospective students to see and they’ll want to attend for sure,” said Casaus.
Construction is scheduled to start in July 2020. They hope students will start using the new facility by spring. The $1.5 million will help build the facility. UNM is asking for people to donate to the program so students can fill the space with new equipment.