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University of Southampton students gear up for world’s largest student motorsport competition

Published: 5 June 2014

University of Southampton students are on track for the world’s biggest student motorsport competition at Silverstone from 9-13 July.

A team of over 100 University of Southampton students is building a car to race against 114 teams from 38 different countries at Formula Student 2014. The competition - run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers - challenges student engineers to design, build and race a single seat racing car.

“It’s an opportunity to apply the skills I’ve learned during my time at university, and to design and build something which can be used in the real world,” says James le Houx, Team Leader of SUFST (Southampton University Formula Student Team ). “One of the biggest challenges in Formula Student is the time scale; we start designing the car at the beginning of the academic year in September to race the following July. That gives us just over nine months to completely design and build a new car.”

The entire chassis of the SUFST car has been constructed on-site at the university. The team have also made use of 3D printing facilities to produce a new intake manifold for the engine.

James added: “The University has been developing the facilities available to the team extensively, and with the addition of a new rolling road dynamometer, we will be able to statically test the car in a much more rigorous manner; providing us with invaluable data.”

Last year was the first time a University of Southampton team had competed in Formula Student since 2005. The team passed all the tests and took part in every event, finishing 82nd out of 120 teams. “This year we’re aiming for a much higher position up the order, setting a target of top 30,” says James. “We believe that an engineering university of the calibre of Southampton is more than capable of competing with the best the world has to offer and we will strive to achieve that.”

Also competing at Silverstone will be 61 teams from other UK universities – up from 47 last year - and 53 electric vehicles, a 120 percent increase on 2013. For the first time, teams from China, Ecuador and Jordan will compete, as well as teams from as far afield as South Africa, Pakistan, Australia, Canada and India. Ross Brawn, former Team Principal of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team, is also returning as competition patron.

Jon Hilton, Chairman of Formula Student said: “It’s brilliant to see teams like SUFST in Formula Student 2014 – it shows that the competition remains one of the most important learning experiences for those aiming to combine their studies with exposure to a real world engineering project.

“Formula Student is a global competition and we want to continue to encourage brilliant young engineers from across the globe to improve their practical skills and get ready to play their part in the vibrant worldwide engineering community.”

“The innovation demonstrated by these young engineers gets more impressive every time and I’m extremely excited to see what they have in store for us this year.”

Dozens of Formula Student alumni have progressed to Formula 1, and hundreds more are now working at the world’s largest automotive firms helping to design and engineer the cars of tomorrow.


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Notes for editors

  • For more information or to interview the team, please contact Steven Williams, Media Relations, University of Southampton, Tel: 023 8059 2128, email:
  • To apply for a press pass for Formula Student 2014 or for more information on the competition as a whole please contact Dan Hearn at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers' Press Office on 020 7973 1261 or email
  • The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) was established in 1847 and has some of the world's greatest engineers in its history books. It currently has over 100,000 members, representing mechanical engineers involved in a diversity of fields such as the automotive, rail, aerospace, medical, power and construction industries.

Formula Student Facts and Figures

  • Formula Student, run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, is the world's largest student motorsport event, challenging students from around the world to design, build and race a single-seater racing car from scratch.
  • Formula Student partners are Jaguar Land Rover, Robert Bosch UK, GKN, SAE and Shell. Our sponsors include PTC, Concurrent Engineering, ATL Fuel Cells, MIRA, Airpass, Royal Automobile Club, MIA, Stingray RV, EIM, Aford Awards and Marketpoint.
  • Formula Student UK is part of a global series of similar events linked by organising body Formula SAE. This year FSAE events will be held in Michigan, Nebraska, Germany, Brazil, Australia and Italy as well as the UK.
  • Ross Brawn, Team Principal of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team is Patron of the competition.
  • The cars can go from 0-60mph in less than three seconds.
  • Formula Student challenges student engineers to design, build and race a single seat racing car in one year. The cars are then judged on their speed, acceleration, handling and endurance in a series of time-trial races, while the teams are tested on their design, costing and business presentation skills
  • Formula Student usually forms part of the students' engineering degree course and counts towards their final mark.

For further information contact:

Steven Williams, Media Relations, University of Southampton, Tel: 023 8059 2128, email:

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