UWR and the School of Engineering are proud to announce that after 18 rounds of highly competitive, closely fought racing, they have finished the competition in 3rd place.
Lead by David Tucker, academic lead for Motorsport Engineering and Automotive Engineering, Shane Kelly, Professional Driver, and Kate Leverton, student Team Leader, the F3 Cup team have had a season of mixed fortune, with some unforseen incidents leading to DNF results, but most importantly:
2 race wins
2 race second places
5 race third places
1 Sunoco fastest driver award
Professor Ian Oakes, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Chair of University of Wolverhampton Racing said: "Although this has been a challenging year, we are delighted with the progress we have made in all of the championships in which we have competed, including the F3 Cup, the AR Morgan Challenge and Formula Student.
"Once again the students' commitment, conduct and performance has been exemplary and they have all gained very valuable experience. The support from our sponsors has been tremendous and without them, none of this would be possible."
Heading into the weekend of the 13th and 14th of October, confidence in the team was high as the F3 Cup returned to Silverstone for the second time this season. The UWR team were in third place by just 3 points, and a strong showing at Silverstone could see us jump ahead of Stuart Wiltshire in 2nd place, and with Cian Carey having had a
volatile weekend at Rockingham, it was mathematically possible to steal the championship on the final day!
Testing on Friday pointed at some good pace in the UWR Dallara, and the mechanical and data engineers were dovetailing nicely, well practiced in their positions after a season of non-stop racing. Saturday 13th was surprisingly warm for mid-October, but the presence of the British F3 competition and the GT Cup, amongst many others, meant that the F3 Cup didn’t begin qualification until 16:45. It was a long day for the team, a test for everyone to maintain their concentration ahead of a vital 20 minute session that could well determine the outcome of the championship.
Kelly was strong out of the gate, again showing good pace to set a top 3 time, lapping at under 2 minutes. But as the session went on, it was clear that there was an issue with the car. Kelly was unable to put in a string of hot laps as the rest of the grid began to catch him up. As qualification wound to a close, the UWR team had done enough to
secure 6th on the grid in Race 1 and 4th for Race 2. Not ideal, but still in touching distance of 2nd place Stuart Wiltshire. In the post-session debrief, it was clear that an issue with the Differential had prevented Kelly from capitalising on his pace through the corners, and a long evening of testing and rebuilding was in store for the student
team and Race Engineer Matt Fenton.
Silverstone was proving to be a “jinxed” race circuit for the School of Engineering’s F3 Cup team. After an engine failure in the 3rd race of the June programme forced a retirement for the team from a great position, it was a torrential downpour on Sunday 14th October that denied us the chance to compete for second place.
With 30 guests and sponsors on hand to watch the final two races, the team huddled in the garage to watch the clock and the rain come down. The British F3 cars, their championship decided in the penultimate race the day before, tried to go out under safety car but sadly the amount of standing water and the spray from the cars ensured the race was red-flagged. The circuit held it’s breath and waited for news or a break in the weather.
Despite the miserable conditions, sponsors and guests were able to spend time in the UWR garage, getting to talk to students and see the UWR car up close. Student Team Leader Katie Leverton gave personal tours of the car to our guests, ensuring everyone knew a little more about F3 motorsport by the end of the day.
A rumour of a race at 2pm caused a flurry of activity in the F3 Cup garages, but it would prove to be short lived as the Race Marshalls deemed the conditions to be too unsafe to race. To everyone’s disappoint, but not surprise, the day was abandoned. With no certainty around rescheduling, or simply concluding the championship with points
already awarded, the team got back to business and packed up the vans for the return to Telford and the School of Engineering.
Sadly, the hope of a reschedule was not to be, and the F3 Cup issued a statement through their website on Monday 15th October, awarding the championship to Cian Carey with 358 points, vice-championship to Stuart Wiltshire with 329 points, and Shane Kelly in 3rd with 326 points.
On Monday night, Shane Kelly said: "After a third season in F3Cup, UWR have always been in the top 3 for the driver standings, which is a phenomenal achievement. We’ve come so far and learned so much, and this wouldn’t be possible without our Engineering students who commit so much of their time to a full season of Formula 3 racing.
"These students have raced all over the Country, in all-weather scenarios, winning and losing together. We are already looking forward to the 2019 season, where the journey continues.
"UWR would like to acknowledge the support and generosity of all our Sponsors and Partners. The Racing Wolves have had a rollercoaster of a season, keeping their heads high through good times and bad, and always learning new lessons from every situation.
With more than 100 students from the School of Engineering expressing an interest in being a Racing Wolf in 2019, we’re already looking forward to winter testing, and I’ll keep you up to date on our progress."
Companies interested in sponsoring the team should contact Terry Gibson 01902 321536 or emailing T.Gibson@wlv.ac.uk.
Thank you to our sponsors for your support through the season. UWR certainly wouldn’t have enjoyed the success we’ve had without you. Your generosity and your interest inspires our students and our team, and we’ve very much enjoyed having you beside us through the year.