The UCL Racing team, made up of students from the Mechanical Engineering Department, took part in the Formula Student competition organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) from the 5th-7th July. Described as the testing ground for the next generation of Mechanical Engineers, the event was held at the UK’s Silverstone race circuit.
Teams from engineering schools across the world enter cars they have built themselves into the many stages of the competition. Different test stages allow industry experts to assess the abilities of the car and the team, and create many challenges for the teams to overcome. Of more than 100 teams entered the competition, only 58 – including UCL – made it to the Endurance test on the final day.
Despite the difficulties, 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 pushed their robust little engine to beyond the call of duty, running with a water temperature of 115°C throughout the 22km Endurance race. The round was completed successfully for a respectable 18th place internationally, and 5th among UK universities.
The team was led by Charlie Archbold, (4th year Mechanical Engineering) and worked in their spare time at evenings and weekends to complete the project in the workshops of the Roberts Building basement and during a test day at North Weald Airfield. See a video of the test day below:
Students from across the years were invited to get involved, giving them the opportunity to gain ideas and experience for next year’s entry.
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.’
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 made sure that their 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!’
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
|Tim Baker||Adept Industrial Finishers|
UCL Racing Team
|Advanced Engine Research – Mike Lancaster, Andrew Saunders|
|Enea Ali||The Bartlett – Abi Abdolwahabi|
|Charlie Archbold||Cranfield Impact Centre – Jim Watson|
|Faris Azelan||Desktop Engineering – Chris Palmer, Bob Lynn|
|Hans Chan||Essex Bearings – Adrian Wilkes|
|Mike Hart||Goodridge Fluid Transfer Systems|
|Bill Leslie||IOM – Zoe Laughlin & Mark Miodownik|
|Clement Lim||Life Racing – Jason English|
|Sarah Mussaid||MCT Engineering – David Joseph, Steven Szmigielski|
|Royston Phoon||National Instruments – Ben Lavasani|
|Mohammed Rashid||Pars Garage – Gentian Shkembi|
|Engin Tahsin||Primary Designs – Pat Barrett|
|Geraint Thomas||RM Engineering- Bob McDonald, Stephen McDonald|
|Rishi Chavda||SPAL Automotive UK|
|Nicholas Koh||UCL Business – Cengiz Tarhan, Anne Lance, Emma Alam|
|Shivam Kumar||Xworkss – Steve Stripe|