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Formula Student team eye success in 2016

David Sayer from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers handing over a cheque for £3000

The Sussex Formula Student team have been celebrating recently after discovering that they have been awarded £3000 by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers - the world’s most eminent engineering organisation.

Overall, 41 UK race teams applied for the IMechE grant – awarded to support UK racing teams, and Sussex Racing was one of five lucky enough to receive it.

The Formula Student contest is widely acknowledged to be the most demanding of its kind and universities across the globe take up the annual challenge to design and build a single-seat racing car to compete in static and time-trial events.

Presenting the cheque to the team on Wednesday (6 March), David Sayer of the IMechE, told those present that the team’s innovation was a particular highlight of their application – in particular their changes to the chassis structure and wheels.

He also highlighted the ongoing widening participation and inclusivity that the team have been involved with over the past year including visiting schools, other parts of the University and working closely with the engineering community.

The IMechE representative also highlighted a supportive letter from Prof Diane Mynors, Head of School for Engineering and Informatics, as a strong reason why the team were chosen.

This year could see even greater success for the team adding to the rich history of Sussex in the Formula Student event at Silverstone.

In 2015, the team were a considerable success. In the racing element of the competition the team finished in 28th position overall and a fantastic 8th position in the UK – despite working with a budget far less than most other teams.

In Class Two of the event – which looks at the more theoretical elements of the car design and development – the team finished in 5th overall for the UK.

For Sussex Racing 2016 the aim is to build on these successes. To achieve this SR16 will use aircraft-grade aluminium honeycomb for the outer skin of the chassis and reduce the size of the wheels from 13” to 10” – to provide increased handling through corners.

Despite acknowledging that their vehicle won’t be a match for the heavily-resourced German teams, Chief Engineer, Thomas Westwood, insists that the team is capable of even greater success this year:

“We are aiming for a top five UK finish and to get into the top 15 overall. To achieve this, the team have been driver training at a go-kart track north of Brighton at Q-Leisure, thanks to Michael Farthing. They’ve offered us driver training and free use of their track for testing SR16.”

Professor Michael Farthing has been an avid supporter of the team over the years joining the team for go-karting to improve the team’s handing skills and supporting the team during their event at Silverstone.

The team itself is made up of 11 MEng students whose job it is to design and build the car this year - this counts towards a third of their Masters grade. There are also 11 third years who design different parts of the car. They help out the team in their spare time and will take over the project next year.

The rest of the team is made up of two second year engineering students who act as compliance officers whose job it is to check the team’s designs against the Formula Student rules.

If you’re interested in getting involved with the Formula Student team then the 2016 team pages or contact Chief Engineer, Thomas Westwood.




By: Tom Walters
Last updated: Thursday, 7 April 2016