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Mechanical Engineering at the University of Chester is an ideal environment to explore the world of automotive engineering.

From the very beginning of their studies, students are tasked with solving automotive issues, from team-building ice-breakers in their first weeks that include involvement with building a ‘green’ powered car; to opportunities to work on Formula Student.

Level 4 students working on the Greenpower race car in their induction week

Described as ‘Europe's most established educational engineering competition’ by the iMechE (Institution of Mechanical Engineers), the University of Chester’s entry to Formula Student is an opportunity for BEng and MEng engineering students to design, test and build a prototype single-seat race car for autocross and sprint racing in their 3rd and 4th years of studies (with additional support, as required, from 1st and 2nd year students).

Our team checking out the competition at Formula Student UK 2017

Formula Student offers its participants the ability to develop skills that will enable them to deliver an overall product that consists of many different components, which have to be designed to work together to achieve the complex requirements of a fully-functional racing car. This requires students to have the ability to work as part of a team of engineers, and supporting staff, to deliver the Formula Student race car within a project setting.

There is a challenging timeframe to meet, and teams must work within the rules laid down for entries provided by the Formula Student committee. Students generally hone their mechanical workshop skills through all stages of race car prototyping and manufacture, whilst developing their marketing prowess as they showcase their chosen design.

The beginnings of a formula student chassis taking shape

The first University of Chester team was created in the summer of 2017, with the intention of creating a Class 2 entry for the 2018 event. University of Chester’s entry to Formula Student is supervised by Bobby Manesh, who is excited at the prospect of the engineering faculty building University of Chester’s first-ever entry in the competition.

Bobby says, ‘this year the team will build its race car entry around a Suzuki GSX-R600 engine, with a focus on using intelligent engineering design principles to achieve the best efficiency possible within the timeframe and resources available. It’ll be a challenge, but the team are really looking forward to creating an effective race car design. The team are currently working on their designs at the Thornton Science Park, where state-of-art facilities including the newly-opened Design Suite, and the Mechanical Engineering workshop are available for their use. Recently, students have been working with on-site industrial partners Motrac Racing, who are based on site at Thornton Science Park, to test the performance of the donor bike engine.’

Photo: Donor bike engine being thoroughly tested before being dismantled

A highlight of the event, the Formula Student competition cumulates on race days that take place at Silverstone in July, where the team’s entry is put through its paces.

The race car entry is judged according to its conformance to technical requirements (e.g. chassis design, brake system, cockpit safety etc.), and is put through a number of tests to determine dynamic performance of the vehicle, such as skid-pad, acceleration, and endurance and efficiency events. There are also points for ‘static’ elements of the competition: the team must develop a business case for their design, and determine theoretical costing data for moving their design from a one-off prototype to a manufactured version.

Students working on the Suzuki GSX-R600 engine

Garfield Southall, Professor Emeritus in Computer Science, says, ‘I am tremendously pleased to see the emergence of the Formula Student initiative in the Mechanical Engineering department. This activity will provide students with the opportunity to experience cutting edge design, alongside their engineering studies, in a manner that is widely recognised throughout the automotive industry. It will also give all participants an unforgettable experience of competitive design at Formula Student in Silverstone.’

We are always glad to hear from members of the public or aspiring students. We are especially happy to talk to you if you would like to sponsor the Formula Student team.

Update: August 2018

By Ben McIlhagga

The University is celebrating its first appearance at the Formula Student event, run by the iMechE, at Silverstone in July 2018.

The Department of Mechanical Engineering submitted a Class 2 entry to the competition, and students representing the Department presented their results for the adjudicators to assess. Among the items presented were a cost and business plan, and the designs of each major section of the vehicle, with the judges offering constructive criticism at each stage on how they can improve, going forward.

Photo: The Chester Racing team: ready for the judges to arrive, Silverstone, 2018

Securing a very creditable 28th at their first attempt and at short notice, the team scored most strongly on their design for the Formula Student car, with the judges commending their work to date. The intention is to progress towards a complete vehicle for next year’s competition, which will hopefully be entered into the Class 1 event.

Photo: Noah Duffy, one of Chester Racing’s 1st year students, explaining his design for the suspension and wish bones, 2018

The Chester Racing team consists of students from the Faculty of Science and Engineering, studying at all levels. This year’s team had at its core a team of third and fourth year students who worked on the vehicle design, while first and second year students sought to develop and produce the part designs ready for Silverstone.

Photo: Student Ben McIlhagga, explaining the chassis design to judges, 2018

The student experience was extremely positive, with students camping at Silverstone during the event, and participating in all the events on the Silverstone calendar. On the back of our achievements this year, the Chester Racing team are now looking to create a society within the University in order to widen the appreciation of Formula Student, and to open up opportunities to students from different backgrounds.

Photo: Some of the Chester Racing team, with Senior Lecturer Bobby Manesh, as they take in the Silverstone experience, 2018.

Paul Folan, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, said: “I am delighted by our success in the 2018 Formula Student event, and it bodes well for the future. Whilst Formula Student is based in the Mechanical Engineering department; to grow on the successful start that we have made, it is essential to see interest grow in the initiative in other parts of the University. There are so many skills that make for a successful Formula Student entry, and the future of the team will only be enhanced by the inclusion of students with new perspectives and visions for the design and build of the vehicle, as well as bringing key skills, such as business planning, presenting, and costing of the final model.”

Contact Details:

Bobby Manesh, Senior Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering,

Faculty of Science and Engineering ,Thornton Science Park

University of Chester, Pool Lane, Ince

Chester, CH2 4NU, UK.

Tel: 01244 512357 



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Our Courses:

  Mechanical Engineering BEng  

Mechanical Engineering MEng