Former and current University of Texas at Arlington formula racing students are traveling to the United Kingdom to participate this week in the 20th anniversary of the inaugural Formula Student United Kingdom event at Silverstone Circuit.During the event, set for July 13-15, former FSAE students will race the original 1998 car that UTA still has.“UTA won the inaugural Formula Student UI event held in England in 1998,” said Bob Woods, FSAE sponsor and professor of mechanical engineering. “Since this is the 20th anniversary of the event, they are inviting all of the champions. I told them we’d be happy to come if we could bring the 1998 car and the 1998 drivers, and our current car and students.”The hosts agreed to the terms. Woods said the students have reconditioned the 1998 car and given it a few updates. He said American Airlines Cargo has partnered with UTA to ship both cars to England in a crate.“We’re really looking forward to this opportunity,” Woods said. “It is bringing up a lot of memories.”
Woods joined UTA’s College of Engineering in 1974 and has developed one of the most successful student racing programs in the country. The student racing is part of the British Grand Prix festivities this year, which is held July 5-8. As an additional enticement, Woods said the racing officials have arranged for UTA to have a drag race on the main straight of the legendary Silverstone Formula One racetrack during the weekend of the F1 race in England.The 1998 UTA car will do a 100-meter drag race with last year’s winner from Cardiff University in Wales.“The Formula One race gets worldwide television coverage, and they often air special events related to the weekend’s activities,” Woods said. “It’s just a really special treat for the students.”UTA’s FSAE, or Formula Society of Automotive Engineering, program has a storied past. Dating back 45 years, UTA has taken many international and national awards. The program has debuted innovative changes in the automotive industry, including wings to reduce drag and an all-electric FSAE racecar.Formula student racing in the United Kingdom is one of the world’s largest student engineering design competition. Entries from around the world, including the United States, Australia, India, Canada and the Far East, as well as a wealth of European teams.