Thursday, July 30, 2015

UTSA formula racing team tests driving skills at local autocross event

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UTSA Roadrunner Racing team members

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(Nov. 2, 2011) -- UTSA's Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) formula team, Roadrunner Racing, had their first chance to showcase their driving abilities at the San Antonio Sports Car Association autocross event. The event was an opportunity for the engineering student team to refine their techniques in preparation for the international SAE competition next June. In the team's first year of participation, driver trainer and UTSA engineering student Jaypaul Smith placed 28th with a time of 46.950 seconds.

Smith led the team of UTSA engineering students at Blossom Athletic Center, where he helped the drivers and members prepare for their first autocross session this season. The autocross event consisted of two heats, a morning session and afternoon session. In each heat, drivers were given six laps to achieve the fastest time. It was the first opportunity for new members to experience the conditions of competition and the team drivers to shake off the rust as they navigated through obstacles such as slaloms and sharp turns.

As UTSA's fastest team, Roadrunner Racing showed San Antonio that it has some of the fastest drivers in the city. Team driver Robert Alaniz saw constant improvement each lap achieving a best 51.473 seconds in his 1994 Ford Mustang GT. Team driver Daniel Pinto had the next best time at 50.235 seconds. But, driver trainer Smith showed why he is a former karting champion and had a top-five finish at the International Kart Federation Road Race Grand Nationals finishing with the third best time of the day at 46.950 seconds in a 2004 Chevrolet Z06; he was bested by a tandem driving team (two drivers driving the same car) by three seconds in a Porsche Boxster.

Before racing, Smith and team drivers Pinto and Alaniz walked the course to become familiar with its twist and turns and to mentally prepare a plan of action for race time. But, walking an autocross course is different than driving it.

"Courses can seem easy to read while you walk the course before a race, but once you're strapped into a car doing 40-plus miles per hour, things can become difficult to read," said Alaniz. "So, with us racing our cars, we get better at reading courses, and this allows us to stay on track and produce our fastest times."

Each member had a chance to race his or her car and push it to its limits. While typical street legal cars are much larger and heavier than the smaller, lighter and nimbler FSAE car, the drivers learn the importance of drive-time experience and how to balance gas and brakes, steering control and cornering, and reading race lines. 

"These skills are important to master, because other teams, especially from overseas, have members who race professionally, so Roadrunner Racing has some stiff competition," said Alaniz.

The UTSA team spent approximately nine hours together as they raced and helped out at the event. Pinto said he connected with San Antonio's racing community, built camaraderie with newer members and enhanced relationships with older members.

>> To learn more about the UTSA Roadrunner Racing team, visit the Roadrunner SAE website, email roadrunnerraccing@gmail.com or call 210-363-0945.

 

 

Did You Know?

Sometimes you have to see the little picture

UTSA researchers are exploring matter at the atomic level with Helenita. It's one of the most powerful microscopes in the world, with the ability to operate near the theoretical limit of resolution. At 9 feet, 2 inches tall and weighing more than two tons, Helenita can dissect almost anything. With Helenita's resolution, researchers can study particles atom by atom to see how they behave.

That's critical in developing nanotechnology that will help diagnosis early-stage breast cancer or make helmets that are uber strong. Moreover, the detail that Helenita provides will allow nanotechnology researchers to create new therapies and treatments to fight a wide range of human diseases.

Did you know? Helenita can magnify a sample 20 million times its size, which would make a strand of human hair the size of San Antonio.

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July 30, 5 - 7 p.m.

Networking and happy hour with AIA San Antonio's Women in Architecture

Join AIA San Antonio’s Women in Architecture group for their networking and happy hour event, where all design professionals are welcome.
Liberty Bar, 1111 S. Alamo St.

Aug. 1, 9 p.m.

"Inside Peace" documentary screening

This documentary, presented by the San Antonio Film Festival, documents the experience of re-entry after incarceration. The film features Michael Gilbert, associate professor in the department of criminal justice and director of the Office of Community and Restorative Justice program at UTSA.
Tobin Center for the Performing Arts, 100 Auditorium Circle

Aug. 4, 6 - 8 p.m.

Free Teacher Tuesday: Los Tejanos Workshop

Discover resources and strategies for teaching Tejano history and culture and get a special educator's tour of the new long-term exhibit, Los Tejanos.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd.

Aug. 9, 12 - 5 p.m.

Vaquerocation 2015

This cowboy-themed programming, offered in conjunction with Our Kids Magazine's Kidcation Week, gives families the opportunity to visit with cowboy docents, enjoy readings and visit activity tables.
Institute of Texan Cultures, 801 E. Cesar E. Chavez Blvd.

Aug. 22, 6 p.m.

UTSA Alumni Gala

The UTSA Alumni Association hosts this annual gala honoring the Alumna of the Year, Alumnus of the Year and the Alumnus of the Year Lifetime Achievement award winners.
Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort & Spa, 9800 Hyatt Resort Dr.


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Meet a Roadrunner

Julian Acosta '12 is a musician with business cred

After graduation, Queretaro native founded a music label recognized by SXSW

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