Author: Geraint Owen -


Every year at the end of a very long and tiring 4 days at the Formula Student event at Silverstone I try and write up the story of the event to give everyone a flavour of how things have gone at the UK’s Formula Student event….from the perspective of the combustion engine team.

COVID rather put a stop to that this year. With lockdown it was immediately clear that there would be no Silverstone event, but to their credit, the IMechE were pretty quick to announce that they would run some form of virtual event. A more usual Formula Student event at Silverstone has a competition for built cars (that the final years do) and also a class for paper based designs which the Y3 students do, using much of the work they have done in the GBDP. A virtual event was proposed where all teams would do a version of the paper based competition, although that was much modified from the normal competition the Y3s would take part in.

Having done the paper based competition last year, and with FYP priorities and the upheaval of lockdown, the final years rightly decided that the event wasn’t something they wanted to do. But the Y3 group were keen to get stuck in, not least of all as it gives them an opportunity to gain some feedback on their design prior to hopefully building the car next year.

There were 3 elements to the competition. “Design”, “Cost and Manufacture” and “Business”. For each of these the students were required to present their work and then undergo a Q&A session (aka grilling). Those teams who impressed were then invited to a second Q&A as a sort of final for that section. 66 teams were entered from all over the world.

And so to the results...

Business was 14th place, but in both design and cost the team made it into the final. The cost ended up being 4th overall and in Design 2nd.

With the points all added up from the elements...TEAM BATH RACING HAVE WON FORMULA STUDENT UK 2020. Yes, you read that right, WE WON!!!

This is a great achievement. We have been entering for 21 years. We are only the second UK team to win Formula Student UK, and now become the only UK team to have won two Formula Student events outright. We are always proud of what our students achieve. But given the difficulties with what has gone on this year, as a University we should be especially so. The Y3 students have been very organised and have just got on with it. The obstacles in their path haven’t thrown them off course at all. They have designed a good car that was rightly praised by the judges.

We don’t make it easy for ourselves with Formula Student at Bath. We design and build a new car each year, from scratch with a new team. It isn't the best way to win the competition, but we have always believed it is the way to produce the best engineers. When the format of the competition changes, a group of talented engineers who aren't merely copying the previous car are always going to be in a strong position. But I do feel sorry for the final year team who didn’t get a chance to finish building their car, despite being very much ahead of schedule in their build. They do deserve special thanks for supporting the Y3 team whilst everyone was off campus. I haven’t covered the TBRe team, who will no doubt produce an update of their own.

Finally, as always, we need to thank all the people in the Department who help with all things TBR, together with the Dean for his constant support  Without everyone’s efforts, none of the competition teams would be able to do what they do. Thank you all.

At long last we have won this. It has been a long 20 years!!! Fingers crossed the Y3 can do the double and repeat this next year with a running car.

Posted in: Celebrating success, Department of Mechanical Engineering

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