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Issued:17/11/14

A team of experts from Sheffield Hallam University have helped daredevil speed fanatic and TV star Guy Martin to break another world speed record.

The team from the University's Centre for Sports Engineering Research (CSER) worked with Guy to design and build a 'gravity racer' - a motor-less vehicle which can be raced on a downhill road - which Guy piloted to a speed of 85.6mph to set a new world record, breaking the previous record by 1.2mph.

The new record was shown on Channel 4's Speed with Guy Martin programme, broadcast on yesterday evening.

The team of five engineering experts worked with Guy over the summer to develop a design for the vehicle that used an optimised aerodynamic shape to reduce drag, with low rolling resistant wheels, superior braking and steering systems.

In the programme, Guy had to go faster than 84.4 mph in the racer on a specially chosen road on Mont Ventoux in southern France, to set a new record for the fastest speed achieved by this kind of vehicle.

The Sheffield Hallam team was made up of Dr Heather Driscoll, Christina King, PhD student Alice Bullas, Terry Senior and Dr John Hart.

They worked with Guy in the UK to develop a design for the racer, getting inspiration from looking at the designs of vehicles at the Humber Bridge soapbox derby. Then, using the engineering facilities at the University, they came up with a final design.

Christina King said: "It has been fantastic to work with Guy Martin and his team on this, and we're absolutely delighted that we were able to help him set a new world record!

"We have a really unique range of technical engineering expertise at the University, so we put our team together based on our knowledge of mechanical engineering, aerodynamics, design and testing.

Terry Senior, Christina King, Guy Martin, Heather Driscoll and Alice Bullas
The gravity racer in which Guy broke the world record
The Sheffield Hallam team when they heard Guy had set a new world record
Guy Martin piloting the Sheffield Hallam-designed gravity racer
Gay Martin and the gravity racer

Click to view the images

"Our design for the shell of the racer was based specifically around Guy's height and size.  We then used our knowledge of computational fluid dynamics to create a racer design that was capable of reaching very high speeds.

"We investigated and tested other elements such as suspension, the chassis, brakes, steering and different types of wheels, before we settled on a final design.

"Then in France we were able to make some incremental adjustments and improvements as Guy edged closer to, and eventually set, a new world record."

This is the second time that Guy and his team have enlisted the expertise of engineers from Sheffield Hallam. In the first series of Speed with Guy Martin a group of engineering experts from CSER designed a gravity powered sled to help him shatter Rolf Allerdissen's Guinness World Record by more than 30kph.

Watch the programme on the Channel 4 website.

For press information: contact Ally Mogg in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 2074 or email pressoffice@shu.ac.uk