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Hallam experts help Guy Martin in quest to shatter speed record

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Issued:12/11/14

A team of experts from Sheffield Hallam University have once again been helping daredevil speed fanatic and TV star Guy Martin in his quest to break a 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 - as part of the Speed with Guy Martin programme, to be shown on Channel 4 on Sunday at 8:00pm.

The team of engineering experts worked with Guy 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 will aim to go faster than 84.4 mph in the racer on a specially chosen road on Mont Ventoux in southern France, which will 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 and Alice Bullas - with expert support provided by Terry Senior and Dr John Hart.

The team 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 range of different designs before settling on a final format.

Christina King said: "It has been fantastic fun to work with Guy Martin and his team on this.  We have a really unique range of technical engineering expertise at the University, so our team was chosen based on its knowledge of mechanical engineering, aerodynamics, testing and design.

"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.

Guy Martin with the Sheffield Hallam-designed gravity racer
Terry Senior, Christina King, Guy Martin, Heather Driscoll and Alice Bullas
Guy Martin in the Sheffield Hallam-designed gravity racer

Click to view the images

"The shell was manufactured by an external contractor using our design, and we assembled the racer at the University before heading to France with Guy and the programme's production team.

"In France we were able to make some incremental adjustments and improvements to the steering and brakes as we pushed to try and help Guy break the world record. We're really looking forward to tuning in to see the programme ourselves!"

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 agravity powered sled to help him shatter Rolf Allerdissen's Guinness World Record by more than 30kph.

Watch Guy try to break the record with the support of Sheffield Hallam expert engineers on Sunday at 8:00pm.

Find out more about 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