Photographed by Jina Ali
UCL Racing, made up of students from the Mechanical Engineering Department, took part in the Formula Student competition which is organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE).
Described as the testing ground for the next generation of Mechanical Engineers, the event was held at the UK’s Silverstone race circuit, from the 5th – 7th July 2013. Prof Nicos Ladommatos, Head of Department said, ‘The team spirit was very impressive and morale was high, we had a very competitive team this year and an excellent car to compete with. The Silverstone atmosphere was tremendous, with over a hundred university teams there from all over the world, a true international student event.’
Charlie Archbold, a Mechanical Engineering MEng finalist, led other fourth year students, working long hours after they finished their exams, including evenings and weekends when necessary. A test day at North Weald helped the team determine what work was needed to ensure all was ready for the competition.
Students from other years were invited to help, with two third years and a first year even joining the team at Silverstone. This new way of working is already reaping rewards: next year’s team leader, Rishi Chavda, has plenty of ideas for how he wants to approach next year’s competition.
Photographed by Jina Ali
The rate of attrition in the competition was extremely high: more than 100 teams entered the competition, but UCL was one of only 58 to make it through to the Endurance test on the final day. Despite the challenges UCL survived due to the technical skills and determination of the students, as well as some gratefully received help from Delft University’s portable workshop. The students ensured that their robust little engine went beyond the call of duty, running throughout the Endurance race with a water temperature of 115°C! There was a tense moment when the judges thought the car might be venting fuel, but they swiftly allowed the car back on the track when they had checked this was not the case. Not only did UCL’s team complete the Endurance race, but placed a respectable 18th internationally, and 5th for UK universities. Reflecting on the event,Tim Baker, the staff supervisor of UCL’s Formula Student Project (who works within the motorsports industry when he is not teaching at UCL) said “It’s been a great opportunity transitioning the young engineers from university to the workplace. The team spirit has been fantastic throughout. They were faced with real pressure and coped exceptionally well when things were not going well. They turned it around to make sure that the car completed the two hardest events in the competition. Something that a lot of teams did not manage to do.”
Prof Yiannis Ventikos, who takes on the role of Head of Department in September 2013 and who joined the department at the beginning of July was delighted to see first-hand such great work taking place, ‘The team was doing what we all love doing: excellent and creative engineering! Dr Baker has put together a crack unit, but also the foundations for great things in the future. Everybody in the Department should feel very proud of the UCL Formula Student team and very committed to support this effort in every way we can in the future: I know I am!’
Photographed by Jina Ali
Further information about Formula Student
Formula Student is the leading European competition for undergraduates who want hands on experience in an innovative racing team. Formula Student (FS) is Europe’s most established educational motorsport competition, run by IMechE.
Universities from across the globe are challenged to design and build a single-seat racing car in order to compete in static and dynamic events, which demonstrate their understanding and test the performance of the vehicle.
Who made UCL Racing’s 2013 entry happen?
Building a car does not happen in isolation. A great number of people and organisations played a part in helping the UCL Formula Student 2013 team succeed.
|UCL Racing Team Supervisors Partners and Sponsors
||Adept Industrial Finishers
|UCL Racing Team
||Advanced Engine Research – Mike Lancaster, Andrew Saunders
||The Bartlett – Abi Abdolwahabi
||Cranfield Impact Centre – Jim Watson
||Desktop Engineering – Chris Palmer, Bob Lynn
||Essex Bearings – Adrian Wilkes
||Goodridge Fluid Transfer Systems
||IOM – Zoe Laughlin & Mark Miodownik
||Life Racing – Jason English
||MCT Engineering – David Joseph, Steven Szmigielski
||National Instruments – Ben Lavasani
||Pars Garage – Gentian Shkembi
||Primary Designs – Pat Barrett
||RM Engineering- Bob McDonald, Stephen McDonald
||SPAL Automotive UK
||UCL Business – Cengiz Tarhan, Anne Lance, Emma Alam
||Xworkss – Steve Stripe
UCL Mechanical Engineering Department Academic Support
UCL Faculty of Engineering Support
UCL Mechanical Engineering Department Technical Support
UCL Mechanical Engineering Department Administrative Support