UG Racing team 2019-20

Awards made: November 2019 and January 2020

UGRacing is the Formula Student team representing the University of Glasgow.

The team designs and builds a single seat racing car to compete against other universities at Silverstone in an international competition held annually in July.  In 2020, the team is planning a comprehensive re-design of multiple systems on the car in order to improve on the 12th place finish achieved at competition in 2019.

The electric vehicle and driverless vehicle group

An award of £2000 was made to the Electric Vehicle Team, introduced by Oliver Neill, a 5th year Physics MSc student, which is responding in the 2020 season to the current trends in the automotive industry, and beginning development for entries to the Formula Student Electric (EV) and Driverless (DV) vehicle competitions. There are already approximately 30 team members comprised of new (2020) recruits working on developing these two projects, which has taken the team up to  about 110 students benefiting from Formula Student.

The primary barrier for UGRacing to enter EV and DV cars at FSUK is manufacturing space at the university – there is no intention of stopping entering combustion vehicles, and there is insufficient space to manufacture two cars in parallel. In order to produce an Electric entry the team intends to simplify the task by taking a previous UGR combustion entry and converting it into an EV entry. This allows the team to make do with much less space in which to develop and test the electric powertrain, and by considering it early on, they can allow for DV compatibility on the EV entry.

Funding from the GU68 Trust would allow initial purchasing of key equipment and parts for an EV powertrain. This would be very much a research and development project, with the aim to develop the knowledge and key systems over the next year, entering a fully electric Concept entry at FSUK in 2021, with the team’s first fully electric vehicle competing on track in 2022. The DV project will be run in parallel over the next two years, with software development being the main focus in the first year. Funding will give access to design software and data to start this development.

The powertrain group

An award of £2000 was made to the Powertrain Team, led by Peter Cochran, 5th year MEng, Mechanical Engineering. The team’s major project is a complete overhaul of the powertrain system, and its improvements will focus on modifications to the Honda CBR600RR engine used by the team, which will be designing new camshafts to improve low end torque.  The pistons will also be upgraded to improve power output.  Weight will be removed from the crankshaft and redundant gears will be taken out, which will reduce the inertia of the engine, minimising frictional losses.  Efforts will also be made to improve the drivability of our car through the addition of a slipper clutch.  Overall these improvements should result in an extremely competitive powertrain unit, which should give UG Racing the opportunity to achieve the most successful year in UGR history.

The award  will be used to finance the regrinding of the camshafts by an external manufacturer, as the process requires high-precision machining and represents a large investment for the team. Lightening the crankshaft will reduce frictional losses in the engine, improving overall engine performance, but requires the crank to be dynamically balanced using specialist equipment. New pistons can also be purchased, which will increase the compression ratio, increasing the thermal efficiency of our powertrain. The GU68 award will also assist in buying material for a new exhaust manifold, which the group intends to ceramic coat to further improve efficiency and powertrain cooling.

The aerodynamics group

Fraser Cowie, 3rd year MEng, Aeronautical Engineering explained that UGRacing’s aerodynamics team will implement a full aerodynamic package for the first time in the team’s history. This includes the design and in-house manufacture of both front and rear wings, as well as a diffuser. Via lap-time simulation and physical testing, the team expects the addition of such an aerodynamics package to increase cornering speeds, improve grip and slash lap times.

The award of £2000 from GU68 will be used to purchase materials essential for a high-quality aerodynamic package: pre-impregnated carbon (a new manufacturing method to the team), which can be cured in an autoclave and allows for an excellent surface finish; plastic honeycombs, used for the manufacture of front and rear wing end plates; and high density foam, which can be moulded using hot wire cutting techniques and then wrapped in carbon fibre.

All these factors should make UGRacing’s 2020 entry extremely competitive and will further the team’s ambition of re-taking the Scottish Formula Student crown and a top 3 finish amongst the UK teams.