Engineering Department Races Forward

The Lancaster University Engineering Department participated in the ImechE Formula Student 2013 competition at Silverstone last month, coming in a commendable 42nd position. The annual event saw 90 teams from across the globe compete against one another to engineer and market a formula racing car as part of the bachelor final year curriculum.

The static part of the competition was comprised of three events, each of which focused on the students’ ability to present their theoretical plans to the market place, emulating the commercial aspects of formula car racing. The second, and perhaps more hotly contested aspect was the racing itself, consisting of Sprint, Skid, Autocross and Endurance trials.

Formula Student chair John Hilton said that it was also important for each of the teams to understand the building process: “Judges are more interested in what the students know and how much of the design they’ve done themselves rather than how much they’ve spent on the car… If they can’t explain how they made it, they won’t get very far.”

Lancaster’s team, led by Christopher Lingwood, spent the best part of nine months piecing together a car that boasted a powerful CBR 600RR racing engine in a body weighing 200kg. This engine, with its mandatory restrictor, gave the car a thrust of 90 bhp – equivalent to that of a 1.6 litre Peugeot 207 – and a 450 bhp/ton ratio – equlivalant to a Pagani Zonda.

The team excelled in both its business presentation and performance on the track. The custom-built car also competed well in the Endurance challenge, coming ahead of 70 other cars  and placing the Lancaster team in the overall position of 42nd – beating many opponents who had far greater access to resources throughout the build process.

James Budge, a recent Engineering Graduate and Lancaster ImechE 2013 Team member, commented that “the project allowed us to develop our practical knowledge in engineering as well as gaining experience in non-technical skills such as project management and budgeting, vital skills that can be applied in our future careers.”

As with every exciting and innovative project there is always the necessary procurement of funding. And it is with great thanks that SCAN, on behalf of the Lancaster Engineering Department, extends their gratuities to Shermaynes Engineering, Seatechnik, Caparo and Moravia Steel for their generous sponsorship of this proud endeavour.

Photos courtesy of Christopher Lingwood
Photos courtesy of Christopher Lingwood

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