Scottish student sensation

Posted on 3 Aug 2010 by The Manufacturer

The Universities of Aberdeen and Dundee have scooped awards at Europe’s biggest student motorsport event.

For the second year running budding engineers in the University of Aberdeen and University of Dundee teams are celebrating after picking up the Shell Award for the Most Fuel Efficient Car and E.ON UK Safety Award respectively after competing at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Formula Student (FS) 2010 event.

The Scottish teams were awarded the prizes for the cars they designed and built from scratch as part of the year long FS competition. One of the added benefits for students taking part in this event is that it has a strong precedent for providing work placements and career opportunities for those who take part. Securing the Shell and E.ON awards will make the Scottish teams even more attractive as graduate recruits.

Nick Brown, marketing manager, graduate recruitment, UK & Ireland at Shell International explained why the company put such significance on the development of skills and knowledge around the use of green technology: “Increasing the efficiency of energy use in the 21st Century will play a significant role in meeting societies growing energy needs in an economically, environmentally and socially responsible manner.”

“Shell is proud to support an event that encourages young engineers to develop qualities and skills vital to meeting this challenge, such as creativity, collaboration and resilience. These are qualities at the heart of Shell’s graduate recruitment process and why we gain such value in our partnership with FS.”

Daniel Ahrens, project manager of the Aberdeen team, said: “With fuel efficiency fast becoming an important selling point of vehicles, we carefully designed our car to maximise its power. After considering engine type and size, the team opted for a carburettor 450cc engine, while concentrating on keeping the car’s weight down to 210kg. We were really pleased as we managed to reduce the 2010 car’s weight by an impressive 45kg from the University’s 2009 car.” Dan is now in the USA enjoying a well deserved break before coming back to the UK.

The team ran on the least amount of fuel out of all the cars that completed the endurance test, won by TU Munich of Germany. The endurance test is won by the fastest car completing the event, but Aberdeen’s car finished with just half the fuel used by TU Munich. The UK team consumed only 1.793 litres of petrol to complete the 22km course which was also nearly a third less than the second most fuel efficient car. It also clocked up a cool 35mpg.

FS is Europe’s biggest student motorsport event and was attended this year (July 15-18) by more than 2,500 students representing universities from 30 countries from around the globe. Apart from Aberdeen’s success while the University of Dundee collected a award for the best crash avoidance or impact mitigation system demonstrating valuable safety, risk mitigation and business continuity skills.

The University of Dundee impressed judges by creating a ‘novel design’ using aluminium honeycomb for energy absorption. Its manual tests of the effects of an impact won the team the safety award for the first year.