Formula Student team

Exeter students launch Formula Student project

Engineering students from Exeter are gearing up for a UK competition which will pit their engineering skills against 120 other universities.

For the first time 13 students from the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences (CEMPS) are taking part in Formula Student which is supported by the Annual Fund. Formula Student is an international motorsport competition run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. University teams are challenged to design and build a single seat race car to compete in a variety of static and dynamic tests testing both student business understanding and race car performance. As well as being tested on the track students will have to defend every design decision to industry judges.

Joe Wait, Exeter Formula Student, said: “What we really like about this project are the similarities to a real engineering project, which involves working with lots of different people. For example, I can’t design the body on my own, I have to know what the chassis will be like.”

“We aren’t reinventing the wheel, we are designing and building a car to schedule and deadline.”

Joe’s probably being a little modest – the aim of the competition is to introduce innovative car design – which could inform the designs of future vehicles. Exeter may not be reinventing the wheel but they are investigating new KERS design systems (converting braking energy) and handling techniques among others which may impact on the road cars of the future.

“The car has to be very reliable and it has to be as light as possible,” said Dr Stephen Childe of CEMPS who is overseeing the project. “Performance and speed are not really the thing – it is more about handling.”

Four members of the team have been selected to compete as drivers following a test day on a go- karting track. The four drivers who have been selected will have to show the car’s capabilities through endurance, skid pans, braking and acceleration tests.

Formula Student takes place at Silverstone on July 3-7.

You can follow the team’s progress on the Exeter Formula Student website.

Date: 21 February 2013

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