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Issued:02/07/12

A team of motorsport-mad students, who have designed and built a working racing car in just 11 weeks, is preparing to test its mettle at a major competition at Silverstone.

The team, which is made up of engineering, business and product design students from Sheffield Hallam University, are entering the Formula Student (FS) competition, Europe's most established educational motorsport competition.

They will take their car to Silverstone Circuit on Thursday 12 July where, over four days, they will compete against 130 teams from 26 countries under their team name SHU Racing.

The FS competition, which is run by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, aims to inspire and develop young engineers. Universities from across the globe are challenged to design and build a single-seat racing car which is judged for its racing performance, design and the strength of the teams' business models.

Cars are judged by a panel of experts from the field of automotive engineering, and the competition is backed by Ross Brawn OBE, team principal of the Mercedes Formula One team.

It is the second consecutive year that the team has entered the competition and they're hoping to better last year's performance, which saw them come sixth overall for their business plan, but fail to get the car out on the track due to technical problems.

SHU Racing technical director Nathan Gould, a first-year mechanical and automotive engineering student, is confident the team can improve.

He said: "We've overcome the technical issues we had last year and have refined the design of the car. I'm really pleased with the work the team has put in to develop a car that will definitely be able to compete against other, more established, teams.

"Our business case this year is also strong, helping us attract sponsorship from PKF (UK) LLP and Thornely & Hill, which has been a real help in developing the car.

"It's been a great experience working with other students from a range of subjects and I am looking forward togetting the car on the track and putting our hard work to the test."

Formula Student is a breeding ground for future automotive engineering talent in the UK and many motorsport companies will only recruit students who have participated in the competition.

SHU Racing team principal Lewis Stead, who has just completed his master's in electrical and electronicengineering at the University, credits his experience of the competition with landing him his dream job developing Formula One enginesat Mercedes AMG HPP, which he starts in the autumn.

He said: "Being involved in managing the process of financing, designing and building a working racing car from scratch, as well as taking it to Silverstone to compete in Formula Student, has been invaluable experience of the world of formula racing.

"I am certain I would not have the got my job without being involved in the competition."

For press information: contact Tess Humphrys in the University’s press office on 0114 225 4025 or email pressoffice@shu.ac.uk