Rivalry revs up

Posted on 24 Jun 2010 by The Manufacturer

Budding engineers gear up for the IMechE Formula Student competition as the Formula 1 world championship hits mid-season heat.

This weekend the eyes of all Formula 1 fans will be fixed, unwavering, on the European Grand Prix –or will they?

In the midst of mid-season excitement rivalry is heating up between the budding F1 engineers of tomorrow and competitors in the Institution of Mechanical Engineers Formula Student Competition are having to focus their attention on quite a different race.

On July 14-18 teams from leading universities across the globe will be pitting their engineering and motorsports skills against one another in an effort to prove academic, vocational and practical pre-eminence.

The competition, which last year attracted nearly 3000 people, demands that students design, build and race a single-seater racing car around Silverstone’s prestigious track.

Competition for top class jobs in motorsport and engineering is fierce and this year partners such as Mercedes-Benz HighPerformanceEngines, Shell and Airbus (UK) will be on hand to offer top career advice and support to help students start their career in the fast lane.

The 2010 competition has a record number of entries for all of its categories which include those designed and built from scratch (Class 1), a Class 2 design category and a low carbon Class 1A sector. Class 1A was won by the University of Hertfordshire’s electric car last year but this year sparks will really fly as there will be five other electric vehicles vying for that crown, in addition to other cars using low carbon technologies.

For the first time this year, all Class 1A cars will be fitted with an electric box to measure the current and voltage passing between the battery and the drive motor, which E.ON UK is involved in. This will determine the electrical consumption of the vehicles during the Endurance event and also act as a data-logger to capture information.

On Saturday and Sunday spectators will get to see cars compete in a series of exciting dynamic events such as the Acceleration, Sprint, Skid-Pad and Endurance. The students’ knowledge, creativity, and imagination will also be tested in the equally important design, presentation and cost assessment elements where they must present their designs to a group of top judges drawn from industry and motorsport.

Jon Hilton, FS Chairman, said: “The development of low carbon technologies and alternative fuels in a motorsport environment like FS is extremely fast and everything can be directly transferred to road vehicles. It will be up to this next generation of engineers to solve problems surrounding vehicle emissions and alternative energy, and this competition gives them the essential, practical skills they need to achieve this. We have deliberately put few restrictions in the rules and these students are pushing the boundaries with some very exciting, revolutionary technology coming through.”

At this year’s event, students will also be offered the chance to take part in a ‘speed networking’ event on Friday 16 July, where they can meet professional engineers from a range of sectors, including 10 young engineers who will be present to talk about career options available and how to get ahead in industry.

For further information please visit www.formulastudent.com