Aberdeen students in gear to beat international competition

University of Aberdeen engineering students have unveiled the racing car they hope will see off international competition at the world's biggest motorsport event, held at Silverstone later this week.

The 17-strong TAU Racing team is aiming to go one better than last year’s result at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers event which saw the north-east students ranked second out of all Scottish teams. They also received a prize for the most fuel efficient car in Class 1 of the competition. Rankings are graded on elements including car design, fuel economy, presentation and performance.

This year, 125 teams from over 30 countries will test their mettle against each other at the legendary racing circuit 13-17 July.

The students have largely designed and built the single-seater racing car from scratch, including bodywork panels, the steering system, pedal box, gear selector and engine electronics. The suspension of last year’s design has also been advanced, an evolution the team hopes will allow greater adjustability and track performance.

ADIL, the Aberdeen-based independent energy consultancy, is principal team sponsor for the team, and company director Tim Sibley was first to get behind the wheel. Other sponsors include Aberdeen Future Fund, DynoJet, Grampian Fasteners, ISR Brakes, John Clark Motor Group, motoGF, Nexen, Scots Bearings, Shirlaws, SolidWorks, Technip and Westgarage Engineering Services.

Mr Sibley said: “I am sure for these students there is absolutely nothing else as fulfilling as designing and building this F1-style car and watching it compete against other vehicles from around the world.

“As an organisation immersed in the energy industry, helping to foster and develop that enthusiasm for engineering could not be more important. The well-documented skills shortage means it has never been more vital to reach and inspire students at that entry level.

“The team has worked exceptionally hard on the car, and we wish them every success for the event itself.”

Daniel Ahrens, project manager of the TAU team, added: "In my opinion, the Formula Student competition is by far one of the best endeavours an engineering student can be part of. It incorporates skills that will become the fundamental building blocks of future employment such as team working, design, business, manufacture and fabrication. It is attractive to future employers as it demonstrates that participants can take responsibly for their work, as team members have specific areas to work on, and also a good work ethic and discipline.

“Being able to compare our solution of the car design to over a hundred other universities from around the world is an amazing feeling, especially when you end up wheel to wheel on the track to prove yours is better.

Professor Tom O’Donoghue, Head of the University of Aberdeen School of Engineering, expressed his pride in the students' achievement, saying: "Formula Student is a fantastic opportunity for the students to put into practice a whole range of analytical, design and project management skills. This is the third year in a row that University of Aberdeen School of Engineering students are competing, with generous support from a number of external sponsors. We have an excellent record so far in the competition and I'm sure the team will do extremely well again this year."

Picture shows Daniel Ahrens with Tim Sibley at the wheel of the new car prior to the bodywork being fitted.