The 2020 Formula Student UK event, a breeding ground for future motorsport engineering talent, took place virtually this year, rather than at its usual Silverstone venue. Without the ability to run the cars physically, judging was based solely on the design and presentation elements of the competition.
FS stalwarts Team Bath Racing secured the win with its new for 2020 design. Members of the 24-strong team took part in a series of presentations and Q&A sessions focusing on their car’s design, cost and manufacturing, and their business plan. As well as scoring the most points overall, Bath took second and fourth places respectively in the design and cost and manufacturing rankings.
Benjamin Jenkins, an MEng (hons) integrated mechanical and electrical engineering student and TBR’s project manager, said the team’s dedication and determination to design their car ‘from the ground up’ contributed to their success.
“We’re absolutely delighted with the result and blown away to have taken first place. Every part of our car was designed by a member of the team, and we know why every decision has been made, so when the judges asked us why we’d done something, we had the answer,” Jenkins said.
“We have team members in Singapore and China, as well as Eastern Europe and the UK– so since March, we have been working across six countries and three different time zones. The whole team has been totally dedicated to getting the work done in time to an exceptional standard.”
Jenkins explained that Bath’s latest design was guided by a philosophy of reducing weight while seeking reliability and maximum handling performance. Extensive use of carbon fiber helped achieve these aims–- the car’s monocoque chassis, aerodynamics package and several other components were designed to be made from the lightweight material.
The car is powered by a turbocharged single-cylinder KTM motorcycle engine, and features a rear-wheel steering system, a particularly challenging element for the team.
“Rear-wheel steering is quite rare as it’s difficult to get right. It allows you better low-speed turning capability and better handling at high speed. It is a special feature and really encapsulates the high-tech nature of our design,” Jenkins said.