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The team with their custom built car
The team with their custom built car
The race team winners celebrate on the podium
The race team winners celebrate on the podium
One of the student team in the winning car
One of the student team in the winning car

Press Release - 22 July 2008

Student engineers race to become UK winners at Silverstone

A team of mechanical engineering undergraduates from the University of Bath have come first in the UK, in the annual international Formula Student competition held at Silverstone.

The University’s team of 13 students were challenged to design, build and race a small single-seater car against more than 70 international student teams.

They modified a motorcycle engine, but most other components were designed, made and assembled by the team. On the race day, the car weighed 190kg and could accelerate from 0-60mph in three seconds.

The team, whose overall global placing on the day was fourth, also had to demonstrate their business skills in engineering the car. This included controlling costs, exploring manufacturing processes, dealing with supplier relations, marketing and even the quest for sponsorship to fund the costs of the build.

The engineering and manufacturing aspects of building the car were incorporated into the students’ degree course; they began to design the prototype in their third year of study and started building the car in their fourth year.

The team’s achievements are especially impressive as they competed against highly professional international teams with large budgets and extensive resources. The University’s build budget totalled only £13,000.

“The experience of the competition was invaluable in providing a stepping stone between university and industry,” said Dr Kevin Robinson, lecturer in the University’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and academic supervisor to the Formula Student team.

"For the students, getting involved in the competition is no easy option as it demands a huge commitment, but it motivates them like nothing else I have seen.

“As a supervisor, it's extremely satisfying to see that commitment rewarded, as hesitant students mature into highly capable, confident engineers."

Their achievement was testament to their ability, hard work and determination, explains Daniel Curtis, Formula Student team member and now, University graduate in Mechanical Engineering.

"The Formula Student competition was an excellent opportunity to get involved with real engineering, take on responsibility, work hard and prove ourselves,” he said.

“Our success was based on combining the academic and analytical side of our degree with hands-on attention to detail in the manufacture of the car.

“That gave us vital industry experience and put us in good stead as graduate engineers.”

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