Students from the University of Warwick are working with fellow students in Africa in a capacity-building project to drive forward electrification in the motor industry.
Members of the Formula Student team are in South Africa this week to share their knowledge on building and racing electric vehicles. Their expertise will be critical to the launch of Formula Student Africa, an all-electric motorsport competition for students across the continent, based on the UK model.
Six South African universities are already onboard for the series, including the University of Cape Town, University of Johannesburg, University of South Africa, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, Cape Peninsula University of Technology and University of the Witwatersrand.
It is hoped that Formula Student Africa will help drive the electrification of transport around Africa, propelled by technological advances in motorsport. In particular, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the University of Warwick’s WMG are keen to collaborate with their state-of-the-art research into EV batteries. The student teams design the batteries themselves as well as the shape and components of their racing car.
Warwick Racing’s team principal Prem Gill, second year Mechanical Engineering student, said: “I’m thrilled to lead such a group of highly motivated and dedicated engineering students who share a passion for motorsport and advanced technology.
“The visit to South Africa is a huge milestone and aligns with my own aspirations to drive positive change in the industry and make a meaningful impact in the world. It’s an opportunity to expand our knowledge, network with industry professionals, and showcase our innovative ideas.
“This venture serves as a crucial moment in the development of Formula Student Africa, as we aim to establish partnerships and network with key players in the industry. Our aspirations for this competition are to foster the next generation of engineers and help to drive sustainability in motorsport.”
Alongside their ground-breaking work on electric racing cars, Warwick’s Formula Student team is championing representation in the motorsport industry. Of the 120 team members, more than 40 are women. 40% of the senior positions in the team are also filled by women.
Warwick Racing’s Chief Suspension Engineer Marieta Kysela, a second year Systems Engineering student, added: “Our team is very diverse, consisting of people from all year groups and degrees, allowing for innovative ideas, solutions and meaningful learning. While there is beginning to be wider representation in the industry, I would like to inspire more women to be leaders in the motorsport sector.”
Professor Robin Clark, Dean of WMG, said: “Warwick’s involvement in Formula Student is well established. It is therefore exciting to see that energy now being directed in a different direction as Formula Student Africa looks to establish itself in the calendar. I am sure that Warwick Racing will share the experience and enthusiasm that is so much part of the team with peers in South Africa and that successful new opportunities will be realised.”
Formula Student is an IMechE competition that Warwick students have participated in for many years. The competition aims to develop young engineers and encourage more young people to take up a career in engineering. The format provides an ideal opportunity for students to demonstrate their engineering knowledge, and test and improve their capabilities to deliver a complex product in the demanding environment of a motorsport competition.
The ultimate aim is to design and race a sports car. This year’s comp takes place at Silverstone. The Warwick student project team uses the name Warwick Racing.
Further details can be found here https://warwickracing.org/
Find out more about the WMG Sustainable Automotive Electrification Master’s programme here.
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