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Students find the formula for success


A team of Newcastle University graduates are following hot on the heels of Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton by racing at Silverstone in a car they have designed.

For a live feed of congregations as they happen see the website. 

A week after the British Grand Prix, the team are taking their car down to the Northamptonshire track to compete in the Formula Student races.

And this will be the first year the Newcastle University team have entered an electric car, the only team from the UK to do so.

The Newcastle student team consists of 18 mechanical engineers, with the addition of 11 electrical engineers assisting. Leading the team is Daniel Machen, who along with many of his team mates has just graduated this week.

The team has spent well over a year working on this project. For many, the venture is part of their dissertation, therefore a vital part of their degree, as well as giving them invaluable experience in the engineering field.

Dan said: “I don’t think any of us can quite believe we’ve finally completed the car and we’re ready to race it – it’s so exciting.

“And it’s not only been fun but it’s also given us some valuable hands-on experience to back-up our degrees.

“It’s been an incredible challenge and has taken a lot of people a lot of hard work but we have high hopes for the competition.”

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 is run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

The Newcastle team’s 2012 model took two years to design and build.

Its high strength and low mass is obtained by the use of ultra high strength steel and aerospace grade aluminium alloy, all laser cut to high accuracy for ease of manufacture.

During the two day Formula Student competition, the car will be tested on its acceleration, manoeuvrability and endurance.

The team will also have to give presentations on the car’s design, cost and potential marketing strategy.

Project supervisor, Robert Davidson from Newcastle University, said: “The Formula Student significantly develops their theoretical, practical and business capabilities, well beyond that of the normal academic forum.  Whilst our Mech. Eng. graduates have no difficulty getting good jobs leading to being Chartered Engineers, the Formula Student team's experience makes them especially valuable to companies and often open doors into highly sought after industries, including F1.”

published on: 13 July 2012