Formula Student

UGRacing power forward to FS success

Formula Student Team

UG Racing at FS2018 - photo courtesy of Align Racing
UG Racing at FS2018 - photo courtesy of Align Racing

Following an amazing performance at this summer's competition in which they ranked as the top Scottish team and 11th overall, UGRacing's Eve Merrell got in touch to share their latest news as they head into 2019!

Please introduce your university and team!

UGRacing is the University of Glasgow’s Formula Student team, having been competing in Formula Student since 2008. For 2019 we have roughly 30 students working on our Class 1 combustion car, and roughly 25 Class 2 students entering the design-only competition.

The team is led by a Team Principal and a Head Engineer and is divided into five sub-teams, each with their own team leader; Chassis & Dynamics, Powertrain, Electronics, Sponsorship & Marketing and Human Resources. Our Class 2 team is used as a training exercise for new team members in their first year on the project.

How did you get on at the competition this year?

2018 was the first time UGRacing had managed to complete all events, in particular Endurance, so we couldn’t have been happier! We had our best result in almost every single event, and finishing 11th overall certainly showed that all our hard work had paid off. We were particularly pleased with 2nd place in the Business event, as well as the overall consistency in both static and dynamic events.

How do you feel about being featured on the BBC East show this year?

We were absolutely delighted to be featured on BBC East! The team were at the campsite celebrating a successful day when the notification came in on Twitter. We all huddled around a phone screen to watch and couldn’t believe it when we appeared. Nobody had noticed them filming us earlier in the day though, we would have gone over for a chat if we’d spotted them!

One of our best memories from the summer was watching UGRacing walk their car back to the pits with bagpipes. What are your big memories from this year?

Bagpiping the car back to the pits was absolutely incredible. The whole team was on such a high after finishing endurance for the first time ever, and it was the perfect way to demonstrate how proud we were of the car’s performance. It was an unforgettable moment!

Another of our stand-out memories (although not such a good one) has to be when the car’s solenoid shifter broke during the Sprint event. Our team principal, Andrew, completed one lap before it overheated and shorted. We were beginning to think our competition might be over, and had sent our Electronics Head on a last minute dash to Essex to try and track down a new solenoid. Thankfully, the team managed to assemble a mechanical shifter which allowed us to complete Endurance with minimal impact to our timings.

A slightly different best bit was when Align Racing invited UGR to their campsite to trade some of our Scottish treats for their Norwegian delicacies. We handed over IRN-BRU, Tunnocks Teacakes and tablet, which the majority of the Align Racing team loved (despite being a little shocked by the sugary Scottish diet). We were then offered a variety of Norwegian foods, including a fermented cheese spread and some “child” pâté - some awful tastes but an overall great time!

UGRacing were one of the finalists in the Business Presentation event this year. Any tips for teams looking to improve in this area?

The team were very careful to make sure we weren’t saying things without any justification or explanation of how it would be accomplished. It’s really tempting to get carried away and say you’ll do everything, but within the set timescale there is only so much that you realistically explain in a sufficient amount of detail.

We absolutely loved planning out our concept too, which meant we all totally understood what the idea was, who was going to use it, how it would work and how we were going to achieve it. We still laugh about our target market character, Hugo - he’s basically an honorary member of the team!

UGRacing are one of several teams from Scotland, what unique aspects do you think Scottish teams bring to the competition?


Scottish teams tend not to take ourselves too seriously, and really make an effort to enjoy the social side of the competition as well as the competitive aspects. We’re typically pretty low budget, which means we’re used to stretching ourselves and our resources to make the most of what we’ve got.

We totally embrace the Scottish pride too, which means plenty of IRN-BRU, bad weather and “SCOTLAAAAAND” chanting.

What are your objectives for the 2019 competition?

For 2019, the team are hoping to break into the top 10 of the competition and hopefully keep our position as the best Scottish team! A top three position within the UK is another ambitious goal but one which keeps the entire team focused and motivated to produce another best ever UGRacing competition result.

How does your team organise your workload?

The team have regular full-team and sub-team meetings to discuss the specific tasks which have to be completed and helps encourage team members to have an understanding of the whole sub system they’re working on, rather than just the individual parts. We use gantt charts and excel sheets to manage our time, and an online forum to share and discuss ideas and designs. There are also full team and sub team WhatsApp groups, which keeps team communication regular (and provides lots of laughs!).

What is new and exciting for your team this year?

The biggest change for the team this year is the revolutionary approach being taken with the design of the new car, UGR-19. After running the same basic car concept for a number of years, the team has decided to drop wheel size from 13 inch to 10 inch wheels to provide a performance boost. This necessitates a full re-design of the chassis, unsprung mass and suspension systems, so it has required a huge amount of work from our design team and has certainly kept us busy! While ambitious, the team feels this is a necessary step to become even more competitive in the future.
Pressuring Cardiff in the Sprint

Another big step for the team this year is the large amount of outreach work we have been doing with the local motorsport community. Attending more motorsport events to show off the team’s work and meeting other like-minded enthusiasts is a fantastic way for us to expand our horizons and gain entirely new perspectives which can feed back into our designs.

What have been your biggest challenges and how have you overcome them?

Finding the right balance between perfecting the design of a particular component and having it manufactured and ready to go at the correct stage in the car-build is a real challenge. Having everything ready to go on the car at the right time is a big job and requires a lot of managing by our team heads. This is made easier by our fantastic partners, who help us enormously both in terms of the car itself and the development of the team’s engineers via the advice and knowledge passed on to us.

What made you and/or some of your team members join Formula Student?

The chance to take part in a real engineering project and put the theory in to practice is the major incentive to join Formula Student for most our team members, as well as getting to see the results of your work at competition. The team frequently have new members detail in their applications that seeing our car at university open days and wanting to be part of the project made them apply to Glasgow University, which is great for us to hear.

Even for the non-engineering students, the opportunities to develop real-life skills are endless, and to work with people who share similar interests and goals is incredibly rewarding!

What’s your proudest moment at Formula Student?

Finishing the endurance event for the first time has to be the team’s proudest moment. In 2017 the car ran out of fuel on the last lap which was heartbreaking, but it made finishing in 2018 even more of an incredible and forgettable moment for the team. As we were celebrating completing the event Sam Collins told us that at the moment we were winning Formula Student UK, which was unbelievable!

How can we keep up to date with you?

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