Formula Student season opens at Silverstone


University of Liverpool’s 2013 Formula Student car competing at Silverstone

University of Liverpool’s Formula Student team topped the Russell Group for the second year running but saw overall UK victory snatched from their grasp by gearbox failure, in the season’s opening weekend at Silverstone.

A brand new engine and the installation of a carbon fibre body, as well as introduction of pull rod suspension to the front and rear, delivered “the best car the team has ever built”, according to captain, Samuel Dauncey.

Great pride in the car

Samuel, who has just secured a 2:1 in Mechanical Engineering, said: “The results were not as high as we expected because we registered a Did Not Finish (DNF) in the endurance event. The results in other areas of the competition were fantastic but we were a lap and a half short in the endurance, stopping us from coming first in the UK.

“We’re just taking great pride in the car, which was undoubtedly the best the team has ever built.”


As well as the track events, competition judges examine each car in detail and interview students

Formula Student sees universities from across the globe design and build a single seater racing car in order to compete in static and dynamic events, which demonstrate their understanding and test the performance of the vehicle.

”We’ve got the car set up brilliantly. It’s very quick, a proper racing car so when we get to Germany we’re going to be ready to get some good results”
And after securing success in categories such as Technical and Safety Scrutineering and Design, Cost and Sustainability, and Business, the car’s gear shift mechanism fell on to the exhaust and melted during the endurance section, causing the driver to lose the ability to change gear.

Samuel said: “Unfortunately, we were in first gear at the time so we had to do eight laps in first gear and it just cooked the engine.


The 2013 car benefits from a completely new carbon fibre body, making it lighter and quicker

“I was really nervous. At the beginning everything was going so well and it was making my nerves worse because I was thinking, something is going to go wrong; and then it did.

“The main thing though was to get through the event in a finished car. I felt we got the best score we could in every event, except the endurance.”

Final standings

The final standing saw the Liverpool team finish 25th out of 91 international universities, sixth in the UK and top of the Russell Group. And Samuel believes just getting the team there was “an achievement”, as a change in the calendar saw the event take place a week earlier than usual, with the inevitable knock on preparation time.


A more powerful, more reliable Yamaha R6 engine was also introduced for 2013 to improve performance

The team heads to Germany’s famous Hockenheim circuit next, with plenty to do before competition opens.

Samuel added: “We’ve got three weeks now to get a new engine in the car, so it’s going to be a busier three weeks than we had planned. But we’re going to get to Germany and I’m very confident that we’ll do well there.

“We’ve got the car set up brilliantly. It’s very quick, a proper racing car so when we get to the competition we’re going to be ready to get some good results.”

Lecturer, Dan Hibbert, who leads the team of third and fourth year Engineering undergraduate students responsible for building, driving and maintaining the car, said: “This year has been the School of Engineering’s best produced car yet. Out of 91 international competitor universities the team came 6th out of the competing UK universities and 25th overall.

“For the second year in a row, the team has enjoyed a top ranking in an increasingly competitive field of international universities.”

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