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News Archive 2001 - 2010

UTA Student Enters and Wins Her First National Auto Racing Competition

September 23, 2002

Angie Hamilton, a sophomore majoring in mechanical engineering at The University of Texas at Arlington, has only been driving UTA’s Formula SAE race cars for about a year, but her skills are good enough for her to win her class at a national event sanctioned by the Sports Car Club of America.

Hamilton came to UTA because of the reputation of its mechanical engineering program and became a member of the racing team. “I’d been involved with rally cars and some dirt bike riding,” she said, “so when I saw the cars I said ‘Wow! That’s what I want to do.’” Formula SAE cars are open-wheeled and powered by motorcycle engines having about 80 horsepower. The lightweight cars are capable of reaching speeds of 130 mph. Students design and build a new car every year. Angie began driver training in the fall of 2001, under the direction of Dr. Bob Woods, the team’s organizer, and Ken Hassler, one of the team’s drivers. Students are taught the engineering aspects of driving – the physics involved such as slip angles of tires, weight transfer, trailing braking, etc. “Formula SAE has become a way of life to me,” said Hamilton.

Angie trained in a FSAE race car built in 1987. In her first autocross, she outperformed drivers with more experience. She then moved up to a 1991 model powered by a turbocharged, methanol-fueled engine. That prepared her for the more powerful and maneuverable 2002 car she drove in the SCCA's Solo 2 events Topeka, Kansas in August. Competing in the A-Modified Ladies class, Hamilton drove in heats that included high-powered cars such as Mustangs and Camaros, and she turned in faster times. She won the national title by completing the course five seconds ahead of her nearest competitor. And she was only two seconds behind the fastest male driver on the UTA team. “I think I did UTA proud,” she said about winning the title.