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The University of Southampton

Students tackle challenging project with support from a top F1 team

Published: 5 December 2013

A group of fourth year engineering students has secured sponsorship from the Williams F1 Team to support their project into racing car aerodynamics. They will spend the next six months working on ways to understand and improve the one third scale model of a hill climb racing car.

“I worked at Williams on a year’s placement and was delighted when they agreed to manufacture parts for us,” explains Arslan Ahmed. “Their contribution will help us tackle the challenges of the next few months.” Other team members are Arjun Biswas, Daniel Scadding, Alex Norton, Marco Giovannelli and James Collins.
The Group Design Project is a major element of the students’ final year of studies. It is designed to test their planning, presentation and teamworking skills as well as their engineering aptitude.

As part of the project, the team will be using the University’s RJ Mitchell wind tunnel which is used to test scale models of real-life racing cars as well as help elite athletes achieve their potential. The students will have six days in the wind tunnel to test their designs. Past research projects have concentrated on enhancing performance as the car drives straight ahead. This year they will be examining how to increase its efficiency while in yaw and steered conditions. These configurations will model the cars’ characteristics when going around corners, a vital aspect of race car aerodynamics.

“It’s very important for students to get hands-on experience in projects,” says wind tunnel manager David Marshall, who is an engineering alumnus from Southampton himself. “They will also analyse data from the wind tunnel experiments as part of their work.”

The Group Design Project will end in May with a final report on the work and a formal presentation to lecturers which will also contribute to the final assessment.

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