April 7, 2020
Building vehicles, relationships, and real-life experience is what Mountain Lion Motorsports is all about. The UCCS Formula Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Electric team was created in 2017 with the intention of uniting students interested in applying their knowledge and skills to real-world settings.
The overall goal for members is to design, build and enter their vehicles in Formula One competitions across the nation and internationally.
The club has constructed three different models since 2017. Their first design was a fully functional vehicle, composed of recycled parts and completed with a $3,000 budget. It was dubbed “Numero Uno” and was a Pikes Peak International Hill Climb competitor.
“It’s not about building the fastest, most powerful vehicle on the track,” Club President Justin Zalewski said. “Our goal is to build something feasible, safe, and environmentally friendly.”
Due to this focus, the club has received sponsorship with the UCCS Green Action Fund.
The team also fosters an environment of real-world application and problem solving. “You can only learn so much in a classroom and on a whiteboard, especially for mechanic and engineering students,” Zalewski said.
Sean Bateman, current vice president of the club, has been a member for two years. “It’s been a great experience being able to apply what we know in a real-world application,” Bateman said. “Everyone is really involved, active, and doing solid work.”
Chief engineer for the club, Robert Carter, spoke about the car currently being worked on. “This car we are building is more complicated than a lot of traditional senior designs, but we are optimistic about the future.”
Unfortunately, along with that optimism the club has faced some obstacles. As of March 13, the Formula SAE team has been forced to relocate as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic closing campus. They are no longer meeting at UCCS.
The team has made an effort to practice social distancing while working to complete the required tasks. “Up until March 27th, we have been building the frame in small groups of 2 or 3,” Zaleweski said.
When the stay-at-home order was initiated, the team began conducting larger meetings through a virtual platform.
“Though the team won’t be traveling to Canada this year, [there] will still be a virtual competition that will judge the quality of our design,” Zalewski said. “Once we are able to finish the vehicle, we will test its performance and reliability and make any adjustments if possible.
“This will give us a strong foot forward in the 2021 competition, since this year’s vehicle will still be eligible to enter the 2021 competition.”
The team accepts applications from all students and is not restricted to specific degree programs. For more information about Mountain Lion Motorsports, visit https://mountainlionmotorsports.org/ or find them on Instagram @UCCSMotorsports.