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Students with a driving ambition take on the best at Silverstone

Published: 23 July 2013Origin: Engineering

Engineering students are celebrating being part of the University of Southampton’s team at the challenging Formula Student contest at Silverstone.

This is Europe's most established educational motorsport competition, run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Backed by industry and high profile engineers such as patron Ross Brawn, Team Principal of Mercedes AMG PETRONAS, it aims to inspire and develop enterprising and innovative young engineers.

Students from universities from across the globe design and build a single-seat racing car to compete in various events, which demonstrates their technical understanding and tests the performance of their vehicle. The cars are 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.

While the students from Southampton finished 82nd out of 130 entrants, the result did not reflect their enthusiasm and hard work. Andrew Cruden, Professor of Energy Technology, says "Our team did a remarkable job passing scrutineering and competing in ALL the events at the competition at Silverstone!! This was more remarkable given none of the drivers had any testing time in the car at all prior to the competition and the second time the car was ever driven, it was competing in the acceleration event!! Massive congratulations and well done to the team for flying the Southampton flag!"

Physics student Szymon Prajs was Southampton Team Director. "Designing and building a car from scratch in one academic year for the first time was a tremendous challenge for us. We have learned a great deal and I am sure we will do much better next year," he said. "Formula Student 2013 has been a great experience for our core team of 50 and I'm pleased Southampton is now part of the competition." Engineering PhD student Jason Bevin led the Powertrain team and many other engineering students also took part.

According to Jon Hilton, Chairman of Formula Student: "The standard of vehicles on display, and the ingenuity of the students who create them, never fails to amaze me. This year's competition showcased exactly why these men and women are among the world's best young engineers, and all who took part should feel very proud of what they achieved."

Southampton's Formula Student team will continue working on the car over summer and will display it on campus at September's Open Days.

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