The 14th University of Birmingham Racing Car Ready for First Race

Posted on Friday 24th June 2011

Students from the College of Engineering and Physical Sciences have designed and built the University of Birmingham’s 14th racing car, which will be unveiled on Saturday 25th June at 1pm in Chancellor’s Court.

The race car is produced as part of a project by students studying various degree courses in Engineering. Their task is to assume that a manufacturer has commissioned them to produce a prototype car that will be evaluated and put into full production. The car must have high performance acceleration, braking and handling characteristics while other factors such as aesthetics, driver comfort, safety and reliability must also be taken into account.

After 9 months of hard work on the part of 25 mechanical engineering students, this year’s design aim was to create a car that builds on the strengths of last year’s car while improving on the quality and reliability in order to be more successful at the competitions this summer. Improvements have been made on the engine with the manufacture of custom designed camshafts to increase performance through the increase of torque output from the engine. Issues raised from last year have been tackled such as the pedal box, hubs and cooling.

The students have engaged many sponsors to work with them on the project from the motor racing industry including Yamazaki Mazak UK who have worked with the racing team to strengthen the designs of the vehicle’s uprights and differential, as well as Perkins Engines and McLaren Electronic Systems who supported the team by donating software. Aston Martin have assisted in the production of the vehicle’s bodywork and engineering strategies.

Andrew Mather, engineering student and team captain, says: ‘What we have achieved this year is something that not only the students but also the University as a whole can be proud of. This year we have one of the youngest teams at Birmingham in a long time and many have thrown themselves in at the deep end. But with invaluable support from Carl Hingley, Dr Karl Dearn, Professor David Eastwood and our valued sponsors, we have achieved all of our targets and deadlines so far and are set for a strong year at the Formula Student UK competition and in Germany this summer.’

Birmingham graduates who have taken part in this project have gone on to work for Ford, Jaguar, Red Bull Racing F1, Williams F1, Mclaren F1 and Rolls Royce. Professor David Hukins, Head of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, says, ‘This is an excellent opportunity for students who want to follow a career in engineering. Not only do they benefit from the expertise Birmingham has to offer in the field of automotive engineering, but in learning how to design and build a race car, they are acquiring many other skills such as budgeting, team working, decision making and management issues that are so vital to the modern world. These experiences are what make Birmingham’s engineering students appealing to employers.’

Ends

Notes to Editors

Photocall: The launch of the 2011 Race Car will take place on Saturday 25 June at 1pm in Chancellor’s Court, University of Birmingham, when there will be an opportunity to photograph the car and the team. Please call the press office for accreditation.

For further information
Kate Chapple, Press Officer, University of Birmingham, tel 0121 414 2772 or 07789 921164.