Student race car gets artistic makeover

The Mobil1 Team Sussex students pose with their race car, which was painted by the artist María Inés Aguirre (MIA). Photo by Malcolm Tam.

MIA wanted 'every brushstroke' of her design to be 'full of movement'.

A detail from the car that the students will be taking to Silverstone race track in July, where they will compete against other young engineers from across the globe. Photo by Malcolm Tam.

Guests at the launch event included (L-R): Cllr Lynda Hyde, the Mayor of Brighton and Hove; Professor Diane Mynors, Head of the School of Engineering and Informatics; and Peter Field, Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex.

A racing car designed by University of Sussex students has been given a colourful makeover by an internationally recognised artist.

The car was wrapped in a painting by María Inés Aguirre (also known as MIA), an Argentinian artist known for her eye-catching and vibrant abstract works.

It was built by engineering students for the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Formula Student project, a global student motorsport competition, and was unveiled on Tuesday (9 June) at a launch event held on the University’s campus.

The Formula Student competition is the world’s largest student motorsport event and challenges young engineers to design, build and race a single-seat racing car in one year.

Students in Sussex’s School of Engineering and Informatics have been working around the clock to get their car ready for an event at the Silverstone racetrack from 9-12 July, where they will face 134 other student teams from around the world in a series of tests.

During the event in Northamptonshire the undergraduates will be judged not only on how fast their car is, but also on the cost and eco‑friendliness of their design; they will even have to give a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style presentation to industry experts on how their vehicle can be marketed to amateur racing drivers.

MIA, who has previously painted a Steinway concert grand piano as well as several life-size animal sculptures for cities across Europe, commented: “I always wanted to paint a car because I like to paint velocity. That’s what I was trying to achieve here – that each brushstroke would be full of movement.

“I always work very fast – I felt like I was driving the car with colours.”

Final-year undergraduate Harry McVicar, leader of Mobil1 Team Sussex, said: “After months of preparation, we’re all very excited about taking the car to Silverstone. Whether we win or lose, the event will still be a lot of fun.”

As for the car’s vibrant new look, Harry added: “MIA’s design for the car looks great – it will really help us to stand out on the race track.”

Automotive Engineering student Martin Law, the team’s head of commercial development, agreed that the design “will certainly be a talking point and will get us lots of attention”.

Peter Field, the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, and Cllr Lynda Hyde, the Mayor of Brighton and Hove, were present at the launch event to celebrate the work of the University’s young engineers. 

The Mayor said: “This is a marvellous project to encourage and assist the students in gaining practical experience, and in applying the skills they are learning. And what an exciting project it is!”

The Lord Lieutenant added: “This car is an amazing demonstration of the students’ skills, and shows great teamwork. The students have been dedicated to getting it right, which should put them in pole position in terms of winning the race at Silverstone.”

The launch event was organised by Mobil1 Team Sussex and facilitated by the School’s Media Technology Lab (MTL). 

A video of the launch event can be seen below.

Notes for editors

A selection of the artist MIA’s works can be found at www.mariainesaguirre.com/mia1/home.html.

MIA is currently represented by the Moorhouse Art gallery in London. More information on this gallery can be found at www.artmoorhouse.com/.

The Mobil1 Team Sussex students will be test-driving the painted car on the University of Sussex’s campus over the next few weeks. Please get in touch if you would like to film or take photographs of the students test-driving the car.  

University of Sussex Press Office: Ben Steele and Jacqui Bealing, 01273 678888, press@sussex.ac.uk


Posted on behalf of: School of Engineering and Informatics
Last updated: Friday, 12 June 2015

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