Students race to Silverstone

Heriot-Watt's Formula Student team

Students from the School of Engineering & Physical Sciences have built a car that will compete at the Formula Student competition at Silverstone this weekend (15-17 July).

Our students gain so much from being part of the Formula Student event. It is a fantastic experience for them

Ian Black, School of Engineering & Physical Sciences

The Formula Student competition challenges university students from around the world to design and build a single-seat racing car, which is then put to the test at the famous Silverstone Circuit. The event, launched in 1998, is organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The students are challenged to produce a prototype car for evaluation. The car must be low in cost, easy to manufacture, easy to maintain, and reliable, with high performance in terms of its acceleration, braking, and handling qualities. Each car then goes through a rigorous testing process and is rated on several categories including design, safety and fuel economy.

The Heriot-Watt team, consisting of eleven Mechanical Engineering students and one Physics student, has been working on the car since September 2010. They have been led by Mr Ian Black, Liaison Officer for the project, and Dr Bruce Davies, Technical Consultant, as well as technical staff from the School. This is the second year that the team has entered. They reached 52nd place in 2010, out of around 130 institutions.

Mr Black said "Our students gain so much from being part of the Formula Student event. They obviously develop their technical skills through building the car, but they also acquire management, marketing and people skills. The students also get to network with students from all over the world at the event at Silverstone. It is a fantastic experience for them."

The University Principal, Steve Chapman, unveiled the car at a special event held at the Edinburgh Campus. The event was attended by University staff and external organisations that have supported the project including Chevron, Russell Paterson Morgan, Grant Racing, Titan Motorsport, Westgarage Engineering, R&D Palmer LLP, Two Wheels, Knockhill Racing Circuit, AP Racing, Beowulf, Goodridge Fluid Transfer Systems, Compomotive Motorsport Wheels, DTA Race Electronics and the Heriot-Watt Alumni Fund.