The annual competition sees more than 100 teams of engineering students from global universities design, build and race single-seat cars
The engineering students from the University of Sheffield have made history by winning a prestigious racing competition at one of the world’s most famous racing circuits.
Sheffield Formula Racing, based in the department of mechanical engineering and made up of students from across the university’s faculty of engineering, has become only the second British team in history to win the Formula Student UK competition at Silverstone.
The annual competition, run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), sees more than 100 teams of engineering students from universities around the world design, build and race their very own single-seat racing car. Previous winners include Cardiff University, University of Stuttgart (Germany), TU Delft (Netherlands), Georgia Tech (USA), and Monash (Australia).
Starting in September, each team develops their own race car throughout the course of the year alongside their studies, taking charge of all aspects of the car from its design through to the build and testing.
The teams then compete against each other in a series of static and dynamic events over a weekend at Silverstone to decide the overall winner. Prizes are also awarded to teams in categories designed to test various aspects of their race car.
The Sheffield team took the lion’s share of the trophies this year, picking up eight out of a possible 13 awards including; overall engineering design, design for second year vehicles, most efficient internal combustion vehicle, and winning the endurance and sprint dynamic events.
The competition is one of the biggest prizes in student motorsport and viewed by the motorsport and wider automotive industry as the standard for engineering graduates to meet, further helping them to make the transition from university to the workplace.
Formula Student is backed by industry and high profile engineers, such as Ross Brawn OBE, managing director of Motorsports and technical director of Formula 1, and aims to encourage more young people to take up a career in engineering.
Along with the difficulties brought by the pandemic, the Sheffield team overcame a number of challenges throughout the year to build a championship-winning race car.
The Sheffield students worked tirelessly through constant challenges, such as having to rewire the car’s entire electrical system one week prior to the competition and discovering water contaminating the engine oil. On arrival at Silverstone yet more water was found inside the engine and the students had to quickly design, build and fit a new brake pressure sensing system, in time to pass scrutineering checks ahead of the races. The car made it onto the track for the timed single lap ‘sprint event’ with 10 minutes to go, just enough time for driver Alex Smith to complete his two attempts, the second of which was quick enough to win the event.
The moment Sheffield Formula Racing have crowned champions, can be watched here:
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