A team of Mechanical Engineering students from the University of Bath came an impressive fourth place in the recent Formula Student Austria competition.
The Formula Student competition, which runs events around the world, gives the opportunity for engineering students to work as a team to build and race their own racing car.
This year’s team of 26 students from the University’s Faculty of Engineering battled with a heavy rain storm and problems with their brakes to secure their best result for some time.
The previous week at the UK competition at Silverstone the team had come a disappointing 19th place whilst being on course for a top five finish after the brake light failed during the final endurance race.
The team spent six months developing the designs for their car, and a further year building the vehicle in the mechanical engineering workshops.
The Austrian event, which saw 42 teams compete, took place on 17-20 July in a beautiful setting amongst the mountains on the site of an old A-1 Ring racing circuit.
A heavy rain storm struck during the sprint event, cutting short the racing on the penultimate day and flooding the campsite where the teams were based.
The final day marked the endurance event, where the team watched through their fingers with excitement and anxiety as team member Fred Martin-Dye topped the timesheets for most of the event with a lap of 55 seconds, a pace that was almost matched by the second driver Dave Turton and only bettered by the eventual winners Global Formula Racing.
Much to the delight of the team, the car ran all the way to the end of the event at a good pace and with no technical problems.
The Bath team was placed fourth overall, behind such Formula Student royalty as TU Munich and Global Formula Racing but ahead of many teams they used to look up to in awe.
The team also came third in the business presentation part of the competition and fifth in both the design and cost categories.
Dr Kevin Robinson, lecturer in the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and academic supervisor to the Formula Student team said: “The Austrian result is testament to the hard work students have put in on the build. This year’s car built on many of the features of last year’s entry, whilst eliminating its weaknesses. Its capabilities were then extended in number of key areas, notably aerodynamics.
“Unlike many teams in the competition, our team designs and builds a new car every year – not an easy path to success, but we seem to be one of a few successful teams that remain true to the original purpose of the competition, namely to train young engineers by giving them a real project to immerse themselves in.”
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