Engineering students gear up for world’s largest student motorsport competition

Engineering students from the University of Leeds are building their own single-seat race car to compete in Formula Student 2012, to be held at Silverstone from 12-15 July.

Run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Formula Student challenges university students from all over the world to design, build and race a single-seat racing car in the competition across many events.

The cars are judged on their speed, acceleration, handling and endurance, while the teams are tested on their design, costing and business presentation skills. The Leeds Formula Race Team will be looking to take on the 2011 Formula Student champions, the University of Stuttgart, who have won the competition for a record-breaking three times.

With less than three weeks left until the competition, the pressure is on to finalise the car and ready it for the big week. Tony Clelland, Team Leader of the Leeds Formula Race Team said:

“Leeds Formula Race Team is the oldest competing UK university in the competition, and we are keen to re-achieve past successes. This year’s team of fourth year automotive and mechanical engineering students were given the task to design a reliable, lightweight, cost effective, and easy to manufacture first generation car to provide a stable base for future years of development. This year’s work has proven to been high pressure as it ultimately linked to the future existence of the race team within the University of Leeds. Throughout the season the team has worked hard to produce the new car, F14, which we believe will be competitive and ensure our goal of a top 20 finish overall at Silverstone.”

Ross Brawn OBE, Formula Student Patron and Team Principal of the Mercedes AMG Petronas F1 Team, said:

“The students taking part in Formula Student have all the academic training, but what the competition gives them is a real-world challenge, taking a lump of metal and turning it into something they can compete with.

“This forces them to learn skills like teamwork and dedication – skills that can’t be taught in a lecture theatre. That experience is the best education an engineering student can get, and the prime reason why Formula Student is such a huge asset to any young engineer’s CV.”

The 2012 car representing the University of Leeds will focus on weight saving, introducing the use of a single-cylinder engine and incorporating lightweight materials such as aluminium, titanium and carbon fibre where possible to achieve this. As well as reducing the overall mass of the car, reliability and cost effectiveness of manufacture and production will ensure the car will be competitive in its class.

The team would like to thank the University, as well as the many sponsors such as RS, Castrol, Leeds Association of Engineers, Spen Bearings and Burgess & Co. Limited for their continued support and contribution.

Further information:

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Follow the team on Twitter: @LFRTeam

Notes to editors:

• For more information or to interview the team, please contact Carson Lau via
• To apply for a press pass for Formula Student 2012 or for more information on the competition as a whole please contact James Fulker at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers’ Press Office, 020 7973 1261,
• The Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) was established in 1847 and has some of the world’s greatest engineers in its history books. It currently has over 100,000 members, representing mechanical engineers involved in a diversity of fields such as the automotive, rail, aerospace, medical, power and construction industries.

Formula Student Facts and Figures

• Formula Student, run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, is the world’s largest student motorsport event, challenging students from around the world to design, build and race a single-seater racing car from scratch.
• A record 134 student teams from 34 countries have registered for Formula Student 2012, 50 of which are from UK universities.
• Formula Student’s partners include Airbus; Jaguar Land Rover; Mercedes-Benz High Performance Engines; National Instruments; Nissan and Shell.
• Formula Student culminates in a competition to be held from the 12-15 July on the Silverstone home straight. It is now in its 15th year. 
• Formula Student UK is part of a global series of similar events linked by organising body Formula SAE. This year FSAE events will be held in Michigan, Nebraska, Germany, Brazil, Australia and Italy as well as the UK.
• Formula Student 2012 will be the first to pit electric and petrol-powered cars against each other, featuring 20 electric cars as well as one hydrogen-powered racer from Delft University of Technology, Netherlands.
• Ross Brawn, Team Principal of the MERCEDES AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team is Patron of the competition. 
• The cars can go from 0-60mph in less than three seconds and last year’s winning car, from the University of Stuttgart, boasted a better brake horsepower (bhp)/weight ratio than a Bugatti Veyron.
• Formula Student challenges student engineers to design, build and race a single seat racing car in one year. The cars are then judged on their speed, acceleration, handling and endurance in a series of time-trial races, while the teams are tested on their design, costing and business presentation skills.
• Formula Student usually forms part of the students’ engineering degree course and counts towards their final mark.
• For new teams who may not have the experience to produce a fully working racecar, Class 2 encourages teams to submit their designs and any manufactured parts for judging.