Published: 12 April 2018

Engineering students gear up to compete at Silverstone

Engineering students stand in University quadrangle next to racing car

Our engineering students are gearing up to compete at this year’s Formula Student competition which will take place at the Silverstone circuit this summer.

The event, organised by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, will see 130 student teams from over 30 countries take part in July 2018. Formula Student challenges universities to design, build and race a single-seater car in one year. They are judged on speed, acceleration and endurance. At the same time the teams are tested on their design, costing and business presentation skills.

Andrew Deakin, Chairman of Formula Student, said: “To design and build a competitive racing car in one year, whilst studying for a degree, is no mean feat. The level of innovation, commitment and ambition that the teams display is incredible and it’s very exciting to see their hard work pay off.

“The fact that we are introducing a new AI element this year is particularly exciting, as AI is already transforming so many industries, including the automotive sector. This new, exciting element to the competition aims to encourage enterprising students to look to the future by designing the software for a fully autonomous Formula One-style vehicle in a safe environment.”

For the 2018 season, the University of Liverpool’s team is made up of 26 engineering students and led by self-pronounced “mum of the team”, George Utley. We spoke to George on his involvement with the competition:

Can you tell us about your role in the team and what your responsibilities are?

“I am the current team leader for The University of Liverpool Motorsport Society. A new leader and senior management team are voted in every year with all our strengths and skills taken into account. For some reason, the team thought I might do an alright job this year so I am trying my best!

“‘I am responsible for delivering the 2018 Formula Student project, protecting the team’s interests and ensuring the continual improvement of operations. I set objectives and create project strategies, as well as assigning role responsibility. In addition, I manage the competition strategy, and authority and stakeholder management. ‘Unofficially’ I am a confidante, a shoulder to lean (or cry) on and a stern voice to put them in check! You might call me the mum of the team.”

What are you enjoying most about preparing for the competition?

“I am enjoying getting my hands dirty building the car! There’s a lot to do in preparation for the competition and my main focus at the moment is constructing the full carbon fibre composite monocoque chassis. I’m a big fan of composites and there’s plenty of that going on at the moment.

“Also, it’s great getting the team ready for what might hopefully be the longest testing period that the University of Liverpool team has ever seen. This should improve the reliability of the car and, in theory, get us that coveted podium finish.”

What are you looking forward to most about going to Silverstone?

“I never lose sight of the goal of getting our car on that track and seeing it get around, at least a few times! Luckily there isn’t just the dynamic part of the competition, we also get to present our design to some hard-faced judges, which is a bit nerve racking, but a really good exercise to get some insight from some real engineers at the top of their game.

“I should probably mention the fantastic camping experience had by all teams attending Silverstone, which is always a lot of fun, with around 2000 students all enjoying the competition.

“The Formula Student competition is the most interesting and comprehensive project anyone could ever be involved in at university. And I didn’t even mention that we get to race the car too!

“It would also be really good to say a big thank you to all our sponsors without whom we would not be able to compete.”

To keep up to date with how the team is getting on, follow them on Twitter and visit the University of Liverpool Motorsport webpage.

Follow the University on Instagram @livuni and watch our story to see more!

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