Engineering students win top two places in UniFi Formula 1 aerodynamics championship

Two teams from the University of Leicester have taken the top two places in an international motorsport design and simulation competition.

UniFi Racing is a unique project which exposes students to the complete design cycle of a modern open wheel race car. Working in teams, the students are given the opportunity to develop the aerodynamics of the car and optimise the setup of the car using industry standard vehicle dynamics software. Once their design is optimised, the students are invited to enter their car into a series of virtual races throughout a simulated race season.

For the second year in a row, students from our Department of Engineering took top spot with Team Hill winning the best aerodynamic design of a FIA Formula 1 car and, this year, a team of Leicester students, Team Mansell, also took the runner-up place.

Team Hill won the constructors’ championship in the penultimate race of the UniFi Motorsport competition, having secured four race wins in the five-race 2016/17 championship.

Together with University of Leicester Team Mansell, Team Hill fended off stiff competition against teams from the UK, Portugal and Italy to design a winning Formula 1 car body which was tested in a virtual wind tunnel.

Philip S. Noble, Parthil Patel, Georgeous Gabriel, Michael Brooker, and Jamie Gollins secured the championship by finding a good balance between downforce and drag. They tested by Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) more than 500 different body shapes created in SolidWorks. The virtual testing environment Bramble, from TotalSim Ltd., guided the selection of the best performing design.

James Thresh, Nicholas J. Watts, Eeva Karner, Kyle G.M. Nicholls, Tendai T. Kachale, and Shane Perera, of Team Mansell, optimized their vehicle’s bodywork and secured the second place in the championship in the last race.

Pictured: Image renderings of the University of Leicester team’s car bodywork, by Philip S. Noble, Team Hill, using Bramble graphics post-processing software, from TotalSim Ltd