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The University of Southampton

About Us

As a group, the Performance Sports Engineering Laboratory at the University of Southampton brings together expertise across a range of sports. In all of these, achieving a winning performance relies on excellence in engineering that can match outstanding human sporting achievement.

Race car testing in the RJ Mitchell wind tunnel at Southampton
Race car testing in the RJ Mitchell

Our origins are over five decades of research and development in the high technology world of performance sailing and motorsport. In recent years we have developed, mainly through links through UKSport, into other sports, including cycling, rowing, canoeing and bob skeleton.

Our expertise is in the synthesis of first principles based analysis, with the latest computational analysis and simulation tools, expertise in model scale experimentation, and tailoring system design to maximise the capability of a given athlete, sailor or driver.

These pages aim to give an overview of some of our current research and development activities. We are hosted by Engineering and the Environment at the University, but have many inter links across the University as well as worldwide partners in industry and academia. We are involved in teaching on a number of programmes and modules that help prepare individuals to work at the forefront of technology, especially in motorsport and performance sailing. Our graduates are unmatched in their reputation for excellence.

The Team: 

Members of our core team in the Performance Sports Engineering Laboratory brings together academics and postgraduate students from three research groups within Engineering and the Environment. The Lab is hosted by the Fluid-structure interactions Research Group alongside the Computational Engineering and Design and Aerodynamics and Flight Dynamics Research Group. We are supported through our links with the Bioengineering and Materials research groups.

Team members


Professor Stephen Turnock (Director)

Professor Andy J Keane

Professor Ajit Shenoi

Professor Philip A Wilson 

Professor Xin Zhang

Dr Joseph Banks

Dr James I R Blake 

Dr Alexander Forrester 

Dr Dominic Hudson 

Dr Christopher Phillips

Dr Dominic Taunton 

Research staff:

Dr David Marshall 

Dr Christopher Brooks

Wolfson Unit MTIA staff:

Dickon Buckland

Etienne Gauvain

Chris Harmer

Lloyd Jones

Martyn Prince

Matteo Scarponi

Sandy Wright

Overview of Engineering and the Environment:

Engineering and the Environment offers expertise in engineering disciplines that underpin every aspect of twenty-first century life. Evolving from its traditional engineering roots, we continue to expand into new, exciting research areas. From orthopaedic implant modelling and modern fuel cell technologies, to enhancing satellite broadcast technology and improving the aerodynamics of Formula One racing cars and hydrodynamics of America's Cup yachts, we are always at the leading edge of engineering research. The positive impact of the our work is felt both at home and across the globe. We are also committed to addressing major scientific and technological issues relating to energy and sustainability that are affecting the world today.

We benefit from being able to use and develop the most advanced computer modelling techniques, and have an extensive laboratory and experimental facilities. Staff work at the forefront of their disciplines and in the 2014 Research Excellence Framework (REF) we were number 1 in the UK for research power in General Engineering. We have strong links across the University and, because of our diverse nature, we are able to offer a multi-disciplinary approach to all its research and teaching activities as well as its interactions with industry.


Related research groups


Aerodynamics and Flight Dynamics

Computational Engineering and Design

Fluid Structure Interactions

Rehabilitation and Health Technologies


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