Cranfield’s motorsport students recently had the opportunity to apply their engineering expertise to help identify a solution to a real motorsport issue at Silverstone.
The challenge, which formed the group project element of the MSc Motorsport Engineering and Management programme, was set by Silverstone Circuits Ltd as part of the unique ‘Virtual Silverstone’ partnership initiative with Cranfield University. Recent developments to the Stowe Circuit at Silverstone require a redesign of the circuit’s safety system to take account of the new track layout. Students were required to investigate the relationship between the design of permanent and temporary barriers located around the Stowe Circuit and the design and safety features of the Formula Ford car.
Emma Thomson of Silverstone Circuits Ltd, said: "This partnership has been a very positive experience for us at Silverstone, giving the students the opportunity to offer their input and expertise to a real issue that we needed to solve. We have been very impressed and surprised at the focus, motivation and quality of the students and their work. The experience has been extremely valuable in allowing us to take a step back and take time to look at what was needed, and we look forward to the partnership growing from strength to strength."
The five teams came up with a number of original solutions, some of which recommended the use of novel concepts such as the innovative ‘F-patch’ design, developed by the winning team, DecTec. This involved fixing cut-out sections of end-of-life tyres into the grassed areas, thereby retaining the ‘look’ of the area but increasing resistance to slow the vehicles down in the event of potential accident situations. Backed up by detailed research experiments and simulations, the designs created significant interest and discussion amongst the audience of industry representatives.
Robert Jones, General Secretary of the Motor Sports Association (MSA), who presented the prize to the winning team, said: "The MSA is proud to be associated with Cranfield and this annual prize. The presentations are of a consistently high standard and this year has been no exception."
Keynote speakers at this event included Andy Mellor, Head of Technical Affairs at the FIA, Richard Phillips of Silverstone Circuits Ltd and Romain Peretmere of ART Grand Prix.
The group design projects form an important component of the education and assessment process for Cranfield’s Masters’ students. They are an applied, multidisciplinary, competitive, team based activity providing students with the opportunity to apply the principles taught during their course to real commercial challenges.
Further information on the MSc Motorsport Engineering and Management is available at www.motorsport.cranfield.ac.uk
For further information on Silverstone Circuits Ltd, please visit www.silverstone.co.uk