Racing to the Finish Line: Birmingham's 9th Race Car Unveiled

Students from the University of Birmingham’s School of Engineering are making a hasty dash to the chequered flag when they launch their new racing car on Friday 24th March. The car will be officially unveiled at 1.30pm at the University’s Chancellor’s Court by Chris Aylett, Chief Executive of the Motorsports Industry Association.

After months of hard work on the part of 38 mechanical and electrical engineering students, this year’s car improves on the previous model in weight saving measures, better drivability and all round reliability.

This is the 9th racing car to be designed made from scratch, raced and tested by Birmingham’s engineering students. The students are asked 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 and driver comfort must also be taken into account.

This year an innovative front shear plate design makes up the bulk of the weight saving measures, eliminating the need for a separate pedal box and vastly reducing the number of brackets required on the chassis. Unreliable components from previous race car designs have been analysed and improved to increase reliability. Drivability of the car has been greatly enhanced by the development of a pneumatic gearshift system and the cockpit size increased without increasing the overall dimensions of the car. Other new developments include optimisation of the exhaust dimensions to aid combustion, and improvement of the design of the intake manifold.

Daniel Kitchin, team leader, says, ‘The team has worked up until the last minute to get the car ready and we are very proud to have built a car that features so many improvements on previous models. We are very much looking forward to racing it later in the summer.’

Birmingham graduates who have taken part in this project have gone on to work for Ford, Jaguar, Jordan F1, Williams F1, Maclaren F1 and Rolls Royce and many more. 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.’

After the launch the car will be put through its paces during intensive testing sessions at Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in Leicester where the team will take part in the Formula Student competition from 5 – 8 July. The car will be raced against 80 other teams representing universities in 18 countries.

Ends

Notes to Editors

Photocall: The launch of the 2006 race car will take place on Friday 24th March at 1.30pm, 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.