Birmingham’s Formula Student racing team, UBRacing, based in the School of Mechanical Engineering, found an extra gear last year taking a new approach to development by visiting their counterparts at South China University of Technology (SCUT) and Hefei University of Technology (HUT).


Hoping to share formula racing knowledge and establish new connections between the two racing teams, the visit provided a unique experience for all involved.

The racing delegation was led by Dr Karl Dearn, Lecturer of Mechanical Engineering and Formula Student Facility Advisor, and Carl Hingley, Senior Technician and UBRacing Team Manager. The visit to SCUT, which took place last summer, included tours of the technical facilities and state-of-the-art research laboratories, as well as technical presentations exploring the engineering aspects of each vehicle, the mechanics of team management and business engagement.  

As part of this visit, the team successfully initiated a new collaborative partnership between the institutions for knowledge transfer, additional visits and plans for developing to the School’s 2+2 exchange programme. Future plans include developing a fully integrated Sino-British team and two new competitive cars built at the two institutions, as well as opportunity for further student – and driver - exchange. 

At Hefei University of Technology, the students again toured the campus facilities and met with the Formula Student team. Dr Dearn was invited to lecture at the University and as such, was also interviewed by local TV.

HUT are also keen to further develop the collaborative relationship with the University of Birmingham and the team expect to see more and more visits and exchanges taking place in the near future.

Dr Karl Dearn said: ‘Our visit to China was a fantastic step forward in bringing UBRacing onto the international platform. I am very excited about further enhancing the partnerships between these two prestigious universities and providing more opportunities for UBRacing to develop international networks for knowledge exchange.’

Carl Hingley said: ‘I was delighted to take part in the UBRacing delegation to China. For me it was an excellent opportunity to see this amazing country and I particularly enjoyed travelling on the wonderful bullet train. Our hosts could not have been more welcoming and hospitable. Sitting and talking to the two racing teams made me realise how truly global Formula Student has become; from the first event that ran in the UK in 1998, with just three UK teams. I very much hope that we can host a Chinese University’s team here at Birmingham in the near future to assist them in competing in the biggest event in the world, Formula Student UK.

Third year undergraduate, James Hatherell, said: ‘I feel very lucky to have been given this opportunity to travel to China with UBRacing. We met Formula Student teams from the two universities and shared a huge amount of information about our cars. It was really eye-opening to see how they do things differently over there and I hope we were also to help those teams progress by sharing information. I certainly learned a huge amount from them and it has helped me greatly during my work on our car this year. It was a fantastic experience and I’m very grateful to the Chinese universities for their hospitality and welcome.’