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4 July 2013, 07:25
Engineering students from the University of Southampton have built their own car to race in the world's largest student motorsport competition.
Run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) since it began 15 years ago, Formula Student challenges universities from across the world to design, build and race a single seat racing car from scratch in one year – before putting it to the test at the famous Silverstone race track.
The beginning of a new academic year saw the long-awaited resurrection of the Southampton Formula Student Team, which last competed in 2005.
A team of 100 enthusiastic undergraduate and postgraduate students from across the University have devoted their free time over the last few months to design and build a car to race against 149 teams from 32 different countries.
The cars are judged on their speed, acceleration, handling and endurance, while the teams are tested on their design, costing and business presentation skills.
The Southampton team has three drivers who have experience in motorsports competitions. James Crothers, who has just completed his second year as a mechanical engineering student, from the Southampton Formula Student team said:
“Our drivers have been really important consultants within the team; they are experienced university superkart competitors. They’ve been instrumental in the choice of tyres, and other components in the car.
"We have adjustable seating and pedals to cater for their different sizes! We have one of the longest cars in the competition, with one of the strongest chassis – again, we are keeping it simple, safe and effective: we’ll look at elements to refine next year, such as moving from petrol to hybrid and designing a carbon monocoque for 2014’s model.”
Thanks to financial support from the University’s Alumni Fund, with further support secured from the University’s Student Centredness Fund and workshop allocations, the team have been able to produce a car suitable for competition in this year’s event.
Dave Crothers, from the Southampton Formula Student team, said:
“The project has provided the perfect springboard for the student population, local community and businesses to get more involved with the team and we look forward to developing these links as we look to the future.
“With plans for an IMechE Young Members Board, as well as proposals to integrate Formula Student concepts and projects into the course material, it is looking like 2013 will be a monumental year for the Formula Student Team at the University of Southampton.”
Ross Brawn OBE, Formula Student Patron and Team Principal of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 team, said:
“Formula Student has been helping to develop world-class engineers for 15 years now. It’s a fantastic challenge for students to undertake and encourages huge amounts of innovation, which I am particularly passionate about.”