USW Falcons getting ready to swoop at Formula Student

Formula Student Team

Students at the University of South Wales are one step closer to building their own racing car.

The group of students has received £3,000 from the Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE), which they will use to help fund the building of a single seat racing car.

The students, who are based at USW’s Pontypridd campus, are taking part in Formula Student – Europe’s most established educational motorsport competition.

USW beat other universities to win the £3,000, which is awarded to one team that has never taken part in the competition before.

The money will be used to help build a fully constructed and running vehicle. The car must be low in cost, easy to maintain, and reliable, with high performance in terms of its acceleration, braking, and handling qualities. Teams will be awarded points for design, business presentation, cost and sustainability, acceleration, skid pad, sprint, endurance and fuel economy.

The students have already designed the vehicle and are working to secure discounts from a range of suppliers.

Once complete, the team will take their car to an event in Silverstone in July, where they will face teams from over 130 universities from across Europe.

The group of 35 students – USW Falcons – is studying for a range of degrees including Mechanical Engineering, Aeronautical Engineering, Computer Science, Business and Accounting. They are using their various skills to raise funding, complete business cases, design and then build the car.

Computing student Vidhuran Sivabalan, USW Falcons Business Manager, said: “We were really pleased to be awarded the money by IMechE, which will help fund a frame for the vehicle. The competition isn’t just about designing the car, from a business perspective we have to write and present business plans and manage the project, so we are learning to operate in a business environment.”

Ewen Constant, Senior Lecturer in Automotive Engineering, said: “The team have done really well to secure the funding from IMechE. The project has brought together students from a range of courses, sharing their expertise and skills to design and build the car, along with all of the supporting functions that is needed for a task such as this. They are looking forward to the competition in July and putting their vehicle to the test against universities from across Europe. It is giving them a fantastic experience of operating as a team in a professional environment, helping them develop skills that they will need for industry once they graduate."

Jon Hilton, President Elect of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said: “We’re delighted that the University of South Wales is entering Formula Student for the first time. Formula Student gives students real-world engineering experience and also forms part of students' degree-level projects. The level of competition increases every year and the format of the event allows students to demonstrate their skills in a demanding and hugely exciting environment.”

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