03/08/2020

University of Bolton motorsport engineering students’ dreams come true with F1 test

Bolton students enjoyed the experience of a lifetime as they tested a classic Formula One car driven by Grand Prix winner Johnny Herbert.

The students from the University’s National Centre for Motorsport Engineering (NCME) completed a two-day aerodynamic and chassis test at the Anglesey Circuit in North Wales. The team were testing a 1981 Ensign historic F1 car, loaned by Dr Bob Fernley, a motor racing veteran, who has run teams on both sides of the Atlantic in IndyCar and F1.

Half of the car was covered in a grid of 250 pressure sensors and it was enabled to log the data, so the pressure differences on the upper and underfloor body surfaces could be monitored and recorded. On the second day, the pressure pads were removed, enabling performance runs with chassis set-up changes to evaluate the car’s performance to optimise its lap time on the racetrack.

The goal is to race the Ensign F1 car at the Masters’ Historic Festival at Brands Hatch on August 22, with the students working alongside professionals.

Project Ensign is a unique programme supported by two millionaires with a background that fired their commitment to help the youngsters identified by Lewis Hamilton. The six times F1 champion fought his way from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of the world’s most elite sports and wants more people like him to have a chance to reach the top.

Bob and another millionaire benefactor Jonathan Kendrick, who both hail from humble upbringings, stepped forward to support NCME career ambitions with this project. Both men are passionate about attracting students from the most disadvantaged backgrounds.

Bob said: “Bringing in people like me and giving them a chance is what this is all about. There has long been the feeling, outlined by Lewis Hamilton so eloquently, that women and people from the BAME community are missing from motor racing and Formula One. We want to change that, which is why Jonathan and I are acting as benefactors to try to bring through new, young talent that otherwise would never have the opportunity to surface.”

Mark Busfield, Director of NCME said: “The team was four NCME students and University staff headed up by the car’s original chief mechanic. The Ensign F1 car ran like clockwork for two days and the team have now established a significant amount of data to analyse. We have achieved a great set up for the race at Brands Hatch.”

Do you have what it takes to shape the future of automotive performance and technology? Find out more: https://www.bolton.ac.uk/subject-areas/motorsport-and-automotive-performance-engineering/

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