The University of Wolverhampton Racing team took to the winner’s podium for the first time at the weekend at the famed Silverstone race circuit.
The team, made up of a combination of University engineering students and staff as well as professional staff, took first place on Saturday as part of the ongoing 2015 Mono2000 Championships.
Driven by pro-driver Shane Kelly, the Formula Renault car took first against a field of 58 cars and also took sixth place in Sunday’s race, despite starting from a grid position of 42nd at the home of the British Formula One Grand Prix.
The team now sits in fourth place in the championships, run by the Monoposto Racing Club, with further outings at the likes of Brands Hatch, Donington Park and Spa in Belgium.
The University bought the car allowing students to have real life experience of working as part of a motorsport team and the move was part of its plans to offer a range of Motorsport and Automotive Engineering courses from September 2015. The new courses will focus on applying technical theory to real world situations, and as part of the students’ project work.
David Tucker, Principal Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering at the University heads up the team. He said: “We’ve been building up to this moment with the students since October and it is a great boost and lift to everyone to get that win under our belts.
“We are a university team competing against teams with a lot more experience, some of them professional. We’re happy to be involved in the championships but it is so satisfying to win and a fantastic experience for the team. There was a real sense of elation.
“We’re giving them real-world access to motorsport and there are plenty of early starts and late nights involved and this gives them all great confidence.
“There aren’t many motorsport courses at universities where students get to be part of an actual race team. We aren’t just talking about motorsport, we’re doing it and we’re having lots of interest in the new courses. We want the University of Wolverhampton to be seen as the place to go for motorsport.”
Earlier this year the University announced plans to invest £12m in new state-of-the-art facilities and courses to help create the next generation of skilled engineers.
The major investment will provide advanced new engineering facilities as part of the University’s response to the regional and national shortage of qualified engineering graduates.
New courses will be offered in the areas of automotive and motorsport engineering, chemical engineering and electronic and telecommunications engineering for 2015-16, followed by the introduction of food engineering and aerospace engineering in 2016-17.
The majority of the investment will go into transforming part of the University’s Telford Innovation Campus and providing specialist equipment for the new courses with additional investment in facilities for chemical engineering at the City Campus in Wolverhampton.
This will include creating a design and visualisation facility, a Formula 1 specification wind tunnel, engine test facilities, 3D printing facilities and laboratories dedicated to electronics and telecommunications, metrology and materials testing.
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