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

Published: 27 June 2013Origin: Engineering

Engineering students from the University of Southampton have built their own single-seat race car to take part in Formula Student 2013, to be held at Silverstone from 4-7 July.

Run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) since it began 15 years ago, Formula Student challenges universities from across the world to design, build and race a single seat racing car from scratch in one year - before putting it to the test at one of the world's greatest racetracks.

The beginning of a new academic year saw the long-awaited resurrection of the Southampton Formula Student Team, which last competed in 2005.

A team of 100 enthusiastic undergraduate and postgraduate students from across the University have devoted their free time over the last few months to design and build a car to race against 149 teams from 32 different countries.

The cars are judged on their speed, acceleration, handling and endurance, while the teams are tested on their design, costing and business presentation skills.

The Southampton team has three drivers who have experience in motorsports competitions. James Crothers, who has just completed his second year as a mechanical engineering student, from the Southampton Formula Student team says:

"Our drivers have been really important consultants within the team; they are experienced university superkart competitors. They've been instrumental in the choice of tyres, and other components in the car. We have adjustable seating and pedals to cater for their different sizes! We have one of the longest cars in the competition, with one of the strongest chassis - again, we are keeping it simple, safe and effective: we'll look at elements to refine next year, such as moving from petrol to hybrid and designing a carbon monocoque for 2014's model."

Thanks to financial support from the University's Alumni Fund, with further support secured from the University's Student Centredness Fund and workshop allocations, the team have been able to produce a car suitable for competition in this year's event.

Dave Crothers, from the Southampton Formula Student team, adds: "The project has provided the perfect springboard for the student population, local community and businesses to get more involved with the team and we look forward to developing these links as we look to the future.

"With plans for an IMechE Young Members Board, as well as proposals to integrate Formula Student concepts and projects into the course material, it is looking like 2013 will be a monumental year for the Formula Student Team at the University of Southampton."

Ross Brawn OBE, Formula Student Patron and Team Principal of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS F1 team, says:

"Formula Student has been helping to develop world-class engineers for 15 years now. It's a fantastic challenge for students to undertake and encourages huge amounts of innovation, which I am particularly passionate about."

Anyone wishing to find out more about the Southampton Formula Student Team, they are on Facebook ( and Twitter (

Notes for editors

Notes to editors: 

  • Members of the media are invited to the unveiling of the Southampton Formula Student Race car on Friday 28 June at 4pm on the University's Highfield Campus. Please contact Media Relations for more details. 
  • To apply for a press pass for Formula Student 2013 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. A total of 149 student teams from 32 countries have registered for Formula Student 2013, 54 of which are from UK universities. 
  • 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. 
  • 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. 

For more information:

Glenn Harris, Media Relations, University of Southampton, Tel 023 8059 3212, email

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