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News Archive 2001 - 2010

Formula Racing Team Leads Again in National Competition

October 9, 2008

The University of Texas at Arlington’s Formula SAE auto racing team continued their demonstration of overpowering designing and driving skills as they finished first and took four of the top five places in the 2008 Solo Nationals held in Topeka, Kansas. Sponsored by the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA), the Solo Nationals is the biggest motorsports competition in the world, with almost 1,100 drivers taking part in the four-day event.

In the Formula SAE Division for collegiate teams, seven universities entered 19 drivers and 11 cars; of these, UT Arlington entered four drivers and two cars. Drivers had to negotiate two challenging courses. Each driver was given three attempts on each course, with the average best time for both courses determining the final position.

Dr. Bob Woods, the team’s faculty advisor and one of the drivers, thought the courses were interesting and challenging. Top speeds were in the 70-to-80 mph range on the faster west course. Drivers in cars with aerodynamic features such as wings were subjected to maximum lateral forces of over 1.7 g’s.

Mechanical Engineering senior Eric Leichtle posted the quickest average times on both courses, finishing first in the division. For his accomplishments, he was awarded the Dr. Bob Woods Cup, an SCCA-sanctioned award presented to the best Formula SAE driver. This was Leichtle’s second year to take the Woods Cup. The Woods Cup was first presented in 2004, honoring Dr. Woods for his contributions to the Formula SAE national program.

Finishing second was Mechanical Engineering alumnus Kenny Hassler, just .235 seconds behind. Taking third was Dr. Woods, at 1.093 seconds behind Leichtle. Mechanical Engineering junior Alejandro Moreno took fifth, finishing 1.762 seconds behind the leader.

“UT Arlington teams have dominated the SCCA Solo Nationals every year except one since 1996,” said Dr. Woods. “We have developed the best handling cars and the best drivers, thanks to the support of the University and our sponsors. The FSAE program at UT Arlington is developing high-quality engineers in this all-volunteer activity.”