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Queen’s University Belfast engineers ramp up for Silverstone race

A group of 25 engineering students from Queen’s University Belfast will take on around 100 universities in the annual Formula Student competition at Silverstone, England.

In July, the Queen’s Formula Racing (QFR) team will race its latest design, QFR18, around the home of Formula 1, Silverstone Circuit in England.

QFR has been competing since 2000, finishing seventh overall last year. The team has been supported by Vickerstock – an engineering recruitment agency who have just signed a three year sponsorship deal with the team - and the event will feature some of the top engineering talent from across the globe.

The Queen’s team has expanded team this year with 43 engineering students taking part.

Adam Hall, a Mechanical Engineering student from Armagh, explains: “QFR came first in the acceleration event and won the prize for most efficient internal combustion engine in 2017. After analysing the weaknesses of last year’s car the team has put a greater emphasis on the car’s suspension system, which has been completely redesigned as part of a third-year design project.

“QFR also entered new territory this year by running three electric vehicle projects, with plans to run an electric powered Formula Student car in 2020.”

Dr Geoff Cunningham, Senior Lecturer in the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, comments: “The students are wholly responsible for the car’s design every year. As part of their degree projects, third and fourth year mechanical engineers have managed to design and build QFR18 in a grand total of nine months. Ingenuity, hard work and passion for the project are just some of the key ingredients required to ensure the car is ready in time for the competition.”

Dr Cunningham adds: “Formula Student adds a practical aspect to the engineering theory the students are learning on a daily basis. The car’s assembly commenced at the start of the Easter break. With only a couple of weeks left to have it finished the team will take it to Nutts Corner Circuit to test and tune the latest design before shipping across the Irish Sea in July.

“The STEM experience gained through Formula Student goes unchallenged as the most effective way of training the next generation of engineers. Putting them in front of real-life problems at such an early stage means that many QFR members gain the experience necessary to go on to be employed in Formula 1.”

This year’s team leader, Gavin White, a final-year Mechanical Engineering student from Coleraine, commented: “The sense of achievement of working on this project has been rewarding throughout especially seeing the progress through the year on CAD and now as the car is being built in the flesh.

“As well as watching the project progress, being able to see each team member develop has been very satisfying. It will be exciting to see the fruits of our labour being raced around Silverstone. Win or lose, I’ll still feel as if it has been a successful year as I believe we have all learned a lot throughout the team which we can carry forward into our careers.”

Queen’s Formula Racing will compete at Formula Student UK from13-15 July at Silverstone Circuit, England. Follow the team online at and on social media to find out more about the team and this year’s car.


Media inquiries to Emma Gallagher at Queen’s University Communications Office T; +44 (0)28 9097 5384 E: