University of Leicester team wins inaugural race in Formula 1 aerodynamics competition

Winning aerodynamic design by a team of students at the University of Leicester – Team Mansell - in the inaugural race of the UniFi Motorsport international competition. Colour scale shows the surface distribution of the coefficient of static pressure over the car body. Image credit: Dr Aldo Rona, University of Leicester

A team from the University of Leicester has taken pride of place in an international Formula 1 aerodynamics competition.

Team Mansell, supervised by Dr. Aldo Rona, senior lecturer in the Department of Engineering, and Professor  Ivor Annetts, Royal Academy of Engineering Visiting Professor in Motorsport Aerodynamics, won the inaugural race of the UniFi Motorsport 2015/16 season.

UniFi Motorsport was formed in 2014 to provide a range of support services to Engineering students seeking their first role in Motorsport Aerodynamic Design.

The University of Leicester student team fended off competitors from other universities and international teams from Italy and South Africa to snatch first place with their redesigned Formula 1 car body.

This consisted of a bespoke front wing (new cascade, turning vanes), a new barge board and sidepod vane, and rear wing and diffuser packages. The team used SolidWorks to design the new surfaces and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) from TotalSim Ltd to evaluate and refine their aerodynamic performance.

The aerodynamic designs from all teams were tested on a simulated medium downforce circuit, analogous to Race 5 of the Formula 1 calendar, on Bramble, and Team Mansell won this sprint race with the lap time of 1’32.68’’.

Dr Rona, Senior Lecturer in the Thermofluids Research Group at Leicester, said: “I was delighted to see Team Mansell topping the scoreboard at the inaugural race. This achievement is testimony to their hard work and to the mentoring that they received, by having a RAEng Visiting Professor in Motorsport Aerodynamics on board.”

Team Mansell consists of fourth year MEng students at the University of Leicester: Amar Patel (team leader), Harnish Rathod, Mmoloki A Machacha, Sahil Patel, and Haroon Habib.  They were delighted by the good news and were congratulated by the Head of College, Professor Martin Barstow.

Amar Patel said: “I am very pleased with the teams’ performance, having used skills obtained on our respective courses to develop the aerodynamic package and achieve the right set-up for the inaugural race. We feel privileged to have obtained this opportunity and will use it to further develop our interest into the field. Currently, our mind is focused on a new set-up to enhance our design and achieve better results than that what was previously achieved. As team leader, I want to thank all my team members for their continued contribution and am looking forward to the final race results”

The UniFi Motorsport activity at the University of Leicester is supported by a Visiting Professor award from the Royal Academy of Engineering. 

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