Formula Student Progress 2017

Released: Monday 15th January 2018 at 14:06

Formula Student is an international engineering competition for students, organised and ran in the UK by the IMechE and held every year the week after the British Grand Prix at Silverstone.

This competition sees a great interest from teams from all over the world, who descend on the event which is one of the largest competitions within the FSAE championship. SUN Racing, which is managed and ran out of AMAP, is the University of Sunderland’s team who design, build, and race a single seat formula car to race at the Silverstone event every year.

The competition is far more than just about speed and racing, with its aims of developing enterprising and innovative young engineers, as well as encouraging more young people to take up careers in engineering by highlighting this exciting event. All the students that take part in the competition get the chance to demonstrate their engineering skills, combined with design and manufacturing, underpinned by solid technical analysis, to deliver in 9 months what is a complex and integrated product fit for a fully demanding motorsport environment.  All of this is within a strict set of rules and deadlines, the team learn many aspects of team work, project and time management, budgeting and presentation skills as well as the more obvious engineering aspects. This all gives students taking part real experience in skills prospective employers will be looking for and helps set them in good stead for future careers and the demands of industry.

The 2017 competition was a successful year for SUN Racing, building on previous solid foundations from 2016. This year over 120 teams from 27 countries took part in the completion at Silverstone in July. Even though the numbers of team members from SUN Racing able to attend the event was very small, comprising of only 7 members, (not helped in part be a change of competition date linked to the move in the F1 calendar for the British GP), the team accomplished their goal set out before the competition! With a target of getting into the top 50, our final position, 46th, was a cause for celebration within the team, but it was hard fought and could have been higher without an unfortunate engine failure in the closing laps of the final endurance competition.

Looking forward to the new campaign for 2017-18, there is a lot of positivity moving forwards for the team. The team numbers have been swelled on the back of the success and growing reputation, and so there is now a larger core team than has been seen for a number of years, drawing from all areas of the university student community, not just engineering students but many from other disciplines. The core team from last year largely remained in place all of whom learnt a great deal at Silverstone, bringing back individual areas for improvement. As a result we have seen upwards of 30 excited fresh faces, eager to learn, help design and manufacture parts for the car and of course to have a go at fighting for the chance to drive the built car at the event. 

Early season progress is remarkably good with SUN Racing for once, ahead in terms of the build for next year, with a chassis almost ready to have parts bolted on and a majority of these parts designed, ready for manufacture. The 2017 car, following its untimely demise in the closing laps of endurance, has also seen some care and rebuild so it is now running again thanks to the team technician Paul Smith.

With this in place it will allow the car, new parts, systems and prospective drivers to all be track tested on a regular basis, before being incorporated into an all-new 2018 build car. Already some interesting new ideas and components are in development, with some unique collaborations being put in place that can further boost the cars design and performance.

All in all, SUN Racing had a very rewarding year in 2017 and it only looks to get better for the team in 2018. If you or your company would be interested to get involved in potentially being a sponsor of the team, either in terms of time, labour, money or materials then we would be delighted to hear from you, and you too could join us on our exciting journey to Silverstone 2018. This of course includes many benefits such as the support back into our graduates, your logo on the car, our website and many other places (including at the Isle of Man TT!).

Please contact AMAP for details via the main number 0191 5151 3888, and speak to Roger O’Brien, Director of AMAP who is also the team Principal for Sun Racing. Many thanks go to our 2016-17 sponsors and partners for their support during the last year without which we could not put our car on the track.

We look forward to updating you regularly on progress in the newsletter as the development and build of the 2017-18 car continues.