14th annual Texas Autocross Weekend set for July 11-13 at UT Arlington
Four on-board computers fine-tune formula car
The University of Texas at Arlington student Formula SAE racing team has fine-tuned its Active Aero technology for the 14thAnnual Texas Autocross Weekend July 11-14 on the UT Arlington campus.
This year’s car features Active Aero technology implemented last year to reduce drag and increase downforce, enhancing handling and efficiency. But student engineers have incorporated four on-board computers instead of the single computer used in 2013 to enable the car to respond more quickly and easily than before.
Randy Long, a civil engineering graduate and electrical engineering master’s student, developed the computer system.
“The computers allow for a smoother, more efficient drive on the track,” Long said. “We’ve decreased the times on the track with the technology. We’re always looking for something that will allow us an edge.”
Each year, students design, manufacture and build small racecars from the ground up. Students from most engineering disciplines are involved but students from across campus have been on the team, including art, science and business majors. FSAE team membership is open to all UTA students. Team members use design tools on the computer, write software to control the car, physically assemble the car and use engineering principles to fine-tune the car’s operation.
UTA’s FSAE team was ranked fifth in the world earlier this year.
“They use what they learn in the classroom and in the garage to build these cars,” said Bob Woods, adviser to the Formula Society of Automotive Engineers student racing team. “It gives them hands-on experience that they can use when they leave UT Arlington with their degrees. What they learn is applicable to other disciplines and jobs.”
UT Arlington will run in the timed trials against teams from Texas A&M University, The University of Texas at Austin, the University of North Texas, Oklahoma State University, the University of Kansas, the University of New Mexico and the University of Windsor in Canada.
Woods, a UT Arlington mechanical and aerospace engineering professor, said the autocross event began as a showdown between teams from Texas and Oklahoma but has expanded each year.
What to do:
- 3 p.m. Friday – Open house of UTA’s fleet of 20 cars, Arnold E. Petsche Center for Automotive Engineering in Woolf Hall (southeast corner), 500 W. First St., http://www.uta.edu/maps/?building=WH . Teams are invited to make any last-minute tune-ups, modifications to their cars. Open to the public.
- 9 a.m. Saturday – Participants from college teams run their cars in Lot 49 for times on an FSAE endurance course. Lot 49 is located at the southeast corner of Mitchell and Cooper streets. http://www.uta.edu/maps/?id=242// . Be sure to bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on.
- 1:45 p.m. Saturday. Teams drive on a second autocross course on Lot 49.
- 10 a.m. Sunday. Drivers will drive a third autocross course. This drive is open to all who have access to a formula racecar for a $10 entry fee, which allows four runs on the course. Sound limits will be enforced in all races.
About UT Arlington
The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution and the second largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as the seventh fastest-growing public research university in 2013. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more. Follow #UTAdna on Twitter.
Herb Booth, email@example.com, 817-272-7075
The University of Texas at Arlington, www.uta.edu