Engineering students have the right formula for success

Each year, more than 130 Universities from around the world descend on Silverstone to compete in the UK leg of the Formula Student competition. Divided into 4 classes to include petrol and electric vehicles, Formula Student is a design and build competition to take a blank sheet of paper and build a functioning car from scratch. You even have to present a business plan as part of the competition.

UWR took part in Class 1 this year, meaning that we built a petrol-engined car (powered by a motorbike engine as per competition regulations) that included a majority of fresh design work. Iterative vehicles make up Class 2.

We’d like to thank all of the UWR sponsors who directly contributed to the build process of Formula Student:

Advanced Lubricant Solutions, Beta Tools, The Engineering Integrity Society, Graphite Additive Manufacturing, HCi Systems, Hex Vinyl, Hub le Bas, Laser Process, Lenovo, MTD CNC, My Work Wear, Quickgrind, RS Components, UK F Group and Zuken all made Wolf 5 a reality through contributing compents and key items when they were needed most.
Over 80 teams competed in Class 1, and the Racing Wolves arrived at Silverstone determined to do better than 2018, when mechanical issues meant Wolf 4 didn’t pass scrutineering.

The first order of business on getting into Garage Number 6 was more of a reward though. The University of Wolverhampton is shortly to become Higher Education and Founding Partner of The Silverstone Experience, an exciting new celebration of motorsport located next to the most historic of racing circuits. Luckily for us, Ross Brawn, the Formula 1 technical visionary and architect of Michael Schumacher’s career, is one of the lead patrons at TSE, and asked to meet our team and Head of the School of Engineer & Chairman of UWR, Dr Syed Hasan on the opening day of competition.

Over the course of five days at Silverstone, the car would be evaluated and awarded points by a panel of judges on:

Design, Cost & Sustainability and a Business Presentation
Technical and Safety Scrutineering
Tilt Test
Brake and Noise Test

If the car passes all of these tests, the team is then able to compete in:

Skid Pad
Sprinting
Acceleration
Endurance
Fuel Economy

While part of the Racing Wolves team prepared the car for scrutineering, the rest gave the Business Presentation. Out of more than 80 universities in Class 1, UWR placed joint 50th, a respectable showing for the engineering students and four places better than the Wolf 4 team managed.

The temperatures at Silverstone didn’t reach the track-melting heights of 2018, if anything the competition was largely grey and overcast, but once again our students were throwing everything they had at the competition. 14 hour days were a standard, but the hard work was paying off as test by test, Wolf 5 was getting closer to actual competition. They passed the slightly nerve-wracking Tilt Test with flying colours.

The first test of Wolf 5 on the track would be the acceleration, an exciting opportunity for the team of students driver to put pedal to the metal and drive away as quickly as possible. Racing Wolf Aidan Riley (pictured above) was the first in the hot seat and posted a very creditable time of 4.89 seconds to cover the acceleration ground. Each of 4 drivers would have the opportunity to try the acceleration test, but sadly Wolf 5 suffered some mechanical failures, and despite the team’s best efforts, they weren’t able to fix the issues in time to make runs 2, 3 and 4. But 4.89 seconds in one run was good enough to place Wolf 5 in joint 18th position, a strong showing from the team and enough to inspire them into one last long night of working ahead of the remaining tests. Sunday would see Endurance in more ways than one.

Sunday came, and with it a running Wolf 5 ready to take to the Endurance circuit to see how many laps the drivers could put in. During the first Endurance run, a driver error saw Wolf 5 hit the tyre wall. While the driver was unhurt, the UWR car was too damaged to be fixable in time, so the team made the sad decision to withdraw from further tests. The University of Wolverhampton team had done enough to finish a respectable 54th of 81 teams, with the eventual title going to University di Modena and Oxford Brookes as runners up.

 

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