Formula Student is an international competition that challenges engineering students to conceive, design and build a single-seater racing car and race it against the clock. The UK-based event, which has been held annually since 1998, is run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.
During the three-day competition cars compete in four events against the clock, designed to test acceleration, manoeuvrability and endurance. Teams are also required to give three presentations on the car’s design, cost and potential marketing strategy. Judges award points for all seven elements, and the team with the highest total score wins. Cars have to comply with strict safety regulations and will go through a series of tests before Formula Student organisers allow it to take part in the competition.
For more information on the competition visit the Formula Student website.
Newcastle Racing is the Formula Student team run by students from the School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering at Newcastle University. The main team consists of 19 highly motivated third and fourth year students, with a handful of other students from the School helping where they can. The main team aim is to design, manufacture and develop a high quality single-seater racing car in order to compete in the IMechE UK Formula Student Competition. Year-on-year, the team has steadily improved in all areas, from the organisational aspect of the project to the engineering solutions demonstrated on the car.
The team was formed in 2002 as NUTS (Newcastle upon Tyne Student) Racing and the design of the first concept car, 'NR1', was entered into the Formula Student Class 3 competition. Renamed 'Newcastle Racing' in 2003, the same NR1 team entered their finished car into the Formula Student Class 1 event. The car performed surprisingly well for a first attempt, finishing 29th overall and in the top ten for UK universities. Every year since, a Newcastle Racing team has entered into the static Class 3 event to gain experience and advice for the following year's dynamic activities.
In 2010, extensive testing was carried out by the NR7 team on the 'NR6' car, which competed at Silverstone in 2009, to understand its flaws and assist in the design of future Newcastle Racing cars using advanced data logging equipment, whilst being developed in a series of stages.
A new single monocoque chassis is to be designed using sandwich panels for the whole car as there are significant benefits over the traditional space frame technology previously employed. The main focus of the redesign is to reduce weight whilst maintaining the equivalent strength necessary to conform with the rules and regulations and thus compete in the Formula Student event. Minimising weight has become a priority for NR8 due to the additional weight of an electrical drivetrain.
In July 2011, the NR8 team took an alternative route for the event, entering the ever-growing Class 1A - the Low Carbon category. It is becoming increasingly important to develop other forms of power, other than fossil fuel, therefore it makes sense for the "engineers of tomorrow" to be working on low carbon emission technology today. To comply with the Low Carbon Emission regulations, NR8 used an AC synchronous electric motor, operating through a standard differential and a prototype controller for optimum power delivery. A completely new chassis was designed to accommodate the change in drive train, as well as improving every other aspect of the already successful NR6 design.
In 2012 the Newcastle Racing team entered an electric car for the first time. Out of 140 cars competing at the 2012 Formula Student event, which took place at Silverstone from 11th-15th July 2012, the Newcastle University team was the only UK team to enter an electric power driven vehicle, and there were only 11 such vehicles in the whole competition. The team was keen to bring on board graphic design and business students to help expand the Newcastle Racing website and to develop a business strategy; for more details see the article in The Courier Online — 'Engineers aim to create the perfect formula'.
Newcastle Racing relies heavily on external sponsors to provide the support necessary in order to compete in a global competition. All help, encouragement and sponsorship will be warmly welcomed: please contact email@example.com if you would like to be involved.
Dr John Appleby, head of the School of Mechanical and Systems Engineering, said: 'Formula Student is a great project with huge potential. It has been an extremely interesting addition to the mechanical engineering degree course which has allowed our students to put theory into practice, and we intend to continue with the project in future years.'