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    North West teams score highly in Formula Student 2013

    Teams from North West universities achieved excellent placings in Formula Student, the world’s largest student motorsport event. Run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, it challenges student engineers to design, build and race a single-seat racing car in one year.

    Lancaster University

    A team of around ten mechanical, mechatronic and electrical engineering students designed and built from scratch a single-seater formula racing car as their fourth year project. The car used a CBR 600RR engine which produces roughly 90bhp using the mandated restrictor, in a car which weighs about 200kg this gives an impressive 450bhp/tonne. At the end of the project they took the car to Silverstone and competed against teams from around the world at the IMechE Formula Student event. In the searing heat on Sunday 7 July Lancaster Racing was one of only 21 teams (from 90 entries) who completed the full endurance course, when other top teams with significant resources fell by the wayside. Overall, Lancaster finished in 42nd place.

    The University of Liverpool

    The University of Liverpool achieved a 25th position, which was sixth out of all the UK universities. The team described its car as “quick and beautiful”, but unfortunately it dropped out one lap from the end of the endurance test, due to a very trivial issue.

    Liverpool John Moores University

    Liverpool John Moores University entered a car known as ‘LJMU13’, the most advanced car that the team had built to date, featuring many new systems. The powertrain development included new camshaft and pistons for a lower, more driveable and fuel efficient power delivery; the steel spaceframe chassis included carbon fibre reinforcing bracing bars; and the uprights and wheel hubs were newly-developed and produced in-house.

    In the competition the car passed the meticulous scrutineering with only minor work required. In the dynamic events the car proved to be extremely capable, achieving the fastest finish in UK for the skid pad (a measure of the maximum lateral acceleration) and fourth in the straight line acceleration event. This was supported by a strong design score by expert judges from related industries.

    In the final endurance event, where nearly half the total points are available, the car suffered a power failure due to the seat wearing through the electrical harness which caused the car to retire. Retirement was a common occurrence, only two out of the fastest ten cars survived the whole event. The team scored a respectable 36th place overall.

    LJMU described this as a very positive experience and it was excellent preparation for Formula Student Germany scheduled for the start of August, the largest and most prestigious of the Formula Student events, and it is hoped the team will be placed in a very strong position for the UK event next year.

    Manchester Metropolitan University

    Unlike most universities, Manchester Metropolitan University’s Formula Student project is an entirely undergraduate enterprise. Nevertheless students from the BEng (Hons) Automotive Engineering course finished a respectable mid-table out of 149 teams in the Silverstone event.

    Formula Student project manager Yousuf Khan, a second year student, is promising a more competitive car for 2014: “Unlike this year when we started in February, we are already planning for next year. There are myriad tweaks and improvements to make to the car and our preparations for racing.”

    The top-placed UK team

    The top UK team was the University of Huddersfield, who scored 502.6 – one place ahead of last year’s champions, Chalmers University of Technology.

    The overall winners

    An electric vehicle won the event for the first time in the competition’s history. ETH Zurich, from Switzerland, stormed to victory with an extraordinary total of 921.3 points at Silverstone.

    It is believed to be the first time that an electric vehicle has beaten cars powered by combustion engines in any accredited motorsport competition.

    Another electric vehicle – built by German team UAS Zwickau – claimed second place with 851.5 points and their compatriots from the University of Stuttgart C came third with 814 points with their petrol-powered car.

    Formula Student took place at the home of British motorsport from 4-7 July 2013. Event patron Ross Brawn – Team Principal of Mercedes AMG PETRONAS – joined other high profile names from F1 and British motorsport at the opening ceremony.

    Formula Student is the world’s largest student motorsport event. Run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, it challenges student engineers to design, build and race a single-seat racing car in one year. The cars are then judged on their speed, acceleration, handling and endurance in a series of time-trial races, while the teams are tested on their design, costing and business presentation skills.

    To see the full list of results:

    European Regional Development Fund Northern Powerhouse
    Partners Department for Business Innovation and Skills Finance Birmingham